THE LEGISLATIVE. PHILIPPINE POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE.
THE NOTEBOOK. by redxhererra. THE LEGISLATIVE.
THE NOTEBOOK. by redxhererra. LEGISLATIVE.
* LEGISLATIVE POWER * Powers of Congress * Ways of Making Laws * Scope and Classification of the Powers of Congress (Lazo, 2009) * Non-Legislative functions of Congress * Principles of Separation of Powers * Principle of Checks and Balances * Composition of Congress * House of Representatives * Number and Election/ Selection of Members of the House of Representatives.
The Congress of the Philippines consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Section 1 of Art VI of the 1987 Constitution indicates that the legislative power is exclusively vested in the Congress to make laws and repeal them. (Gov't of the Phil. Vs. Springer, 50 Phil. 259).
Art. 7, Sec 1 .. The legislative power shall be vested in Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum..
The Congress also discharges powers of a non-legislative nature, among them the canvass of the presidential elections, the declaration of the existence of a state of war, the confirmation of amnesties, and (through the Commission on Appointments) presidential appointments, the amendment or revision of the Constitution, and impeachment..
Powers of Congress. The powers of the Congress may be classified generally into legislative and non-legislative. The legislative power includes the specific powers of appropriation, taxation, and expropriation. The non-legislative powers, as previously mentioned, include the power to canvass the presidential elections, to declare the existence of a state of war, to give concurrence to treaties and amnesties, to propose constitutional amendments, and to impeach..
The 1987 Constitution introduced ways of making laws. (Zaide 1999; Organista and Rivera, 1999) 1. The Congress of the Philippines makes laws of the Republic. 2. The people may directly propose and enact laws or approve and reject them by means of initiative and referendum..
Meaning of law. A single law has been defined as a "general rule for the conduct of members of the community emanating from the government authority and habitually enforced by some public authority by the imposition of sanctions or penalties for its violation." (Smith & Zurcher, 1955).
1. General Legislative Power A general legislative power of Congress is usually undefined by the Constitution. This power refers to the overall authority to enact laws for the people and the State, unless the Constitution itself limits the subject matter on which it may legislate. General legislative power, or the power to write, amend, or revise laws is vested on Congress, except to the extend reserved to the people. Congress can make laws inasmuch as it is not contrary to the fundamental law..
Scope and Classification of the Powers of Congress (Lazo, 2009).
From the meaning itself, implied powers are those authority enjoyed by legislature to effectively exercise its constitutionally granted powers to conduct investigation in aid of legislation (Sec. 21), or to determine the rules of its proceedings (Sec. 16 13])..
Generally Non-Delegable Powers. These are powers that are essentially inherent in the Congress, which need no legislation or constitutional grant to that effect. These fundamental powers of the State are taxation, eminent domain, and police power. Nonetheless, the Congress may delegate its legislative powers to the President during times of emergency or national distress, and in times of war to local government units and administrative bodies. Every government possesses inherent powers since they exist as elements of sovereignty or these powers are almost always deemed conferred by the sovereign people to the political agency of the state..
Non-Legislative functions of Congress. The normal or primary function of Congress is to enact laws. However, the role played by this body in the conduct of the affairs of the government extends further. The Constitution has express given Congress powers which are non-legislative in nature. Among its non-legislative functions may be considered the following:.
Non-Legislative functions of Congress. 3. Executive. Congress exercises certain powers of an executive nature through the supervision which it exercises over administrative officials. By means of law, it can create administrative offices and agencies, and may alter or abolish the, at will. It may grant them generous appropriations or it may practically destroy them by granting little or no money. (Sec. 29) It takes part through the Senate in the treaty-making process (Art. VIII, Sec 21). 4. Judicial. The Congress holds the power to impeach the President, the Vice President, the members of the Supreme Court, the members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman (Art. XI, Sec. 2), to punish its members for disorderly behavior, and to suspend or expel a member (Sec.. 16); 5. Investigative. As a necessary adjunct to the exercise of powers and the discharge of its functions. Congress has fu power to investigate, to summon witnesses, and to compel the presentation of books, records and correspondence. n responsibility entailed in the function may be said to fall int two broad categories: first, investigation aimed at gathering data for lawmaking purposed, and second, inquiries to aid its supervisory control over the executive and administrative agencies in order to hold them accountable to the people. (Schmandt and Steinbicker, 2002).
Principles of Separation of Powers. The national powers of government, under this principle, are divided into three (3) distinct classes; the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. They are distributed, respectively, among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches or departments of the government which are independent of and equal to each other. The powers of each branch come not from the others but from the Constitution. The officers entrusted with each of these powers are not permitted to encroach upon the limits set by the Constitution, its acts are null and void. The principle of separation of powers is based on the belief that arbitrary rule or official tyranny would result if the powers of government are concentrated in a single branch. It is of special importance in the case of the independence of the judiciary from the other branches (Art. VIII). In a tripartite system, the three branches are supposed to be more or less equal so that the system of checks and balances, which is the key to a democratic government, could operate properly..
Principle of Checks and Balances. Under the Constitution, there is no absolute separation among the three principal organs of government. Considerable blending of functions or duties is provided to accomplish the business of government. Each branch has weapons with which to check the others. Thus:.
Composition of Congress. The legislative department of the Philippines is a bicameral structure. It is composed of the Senate, being the Upper House and the House of Representatives as the Lower House. The former is headed by the Senate President who is elected from among the members, and the latter, the Speaker of the House who also presides over the businesses of the lower chamber. The Senate is composed of twenty-four (24) senators who are elected at large, and the House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred fifty (250) members..
Composition of Congress. Sec. 2. The Senate shall be composed of twenty-four Senators who shal1 be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law. Sec. 3. No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural- born citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election. Sec. 4. The term of office of the Senators shall be six years and shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. No Senator shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected..
1. Composition and Election. It is composed of 24 Senators. They e elected at large (nationwide) by the qualified voters, as may be provided by law (Sec 2). Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of Senators shall be held on the second Monday of May (Sec.8) 2. Term of Office. It is six (6) years. It shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the 30th day of June next following their election (Sec. 4, Par. 1) The Constitution has a similar provision with respect to the President and Vice-President. (Art. VII, Sec. 3 and 4) except that the hour and date of commencement of their term of office cannot be changed by law..
3. Qualifications. These are qualifications of a Senator: a. A natural-born citizen of the Philippines; b. At least 35 years of age on the date of election; c. Able to read and write; d. A registered voter; and e. A resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election (Art. VI, Sec. 3) The Constitution ensures that the elections for Congress, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, shall be on the second Monday of May, unless otherwise changed by law. 4. Maximum terms. A Senator is disqualified to serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms. (Sec. 4, par. 2) The disqualification is in line with the state policy on equal access to opportunities for public service and against political dynasties. (Art. II, Sec. 26) At any rate, a Senator can still run for reelection after a break or interval. There is no limit as to the number of years you one can serve as Senator. What is prohibited is to serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms. But voluntary renunciation of the office by a Senator for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected. (Ibid) A Senator (or Congressman) elected to serve only the unexpired term of another should be deemed to have been elected for one term..
House of Representatives. Sec. 5(1). The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector. (3) Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative. (4) Within three years following the return of every census the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section. Sec. 6. No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty- five years of age, able to read and write, and, except the party- list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shalI be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election. Sec. 7. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected..
1. Composition and election/ selection. It is composed of not more than 250 members. They are elected from legislative districts and through a party-list system. The party-list representatives are filled by selection or election from the labor, peasant, etc. and other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector. (Sec. 5) Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of the members of the House of Representatives shall be held on the second Monday of May. (Sec. 8) 2. Term of Office and Tenure of Office. The term of a Congressman is three (3) years, which shall begin on the noon of June 30 following his election. He may enjoy a maximum term of three (3) consecutive terms equivalent to nine (9) years. The maximum term of office is limited by the Constitution on the assumption as to prevent a possible political clout and dynasty, which the law restricts. This gives an opportunity to other equally deserving aspirant serve the people. A term of office refers to the fixed period of service when an elected official may validly keep his post. The term of office is usually specified by law. Tenure of office refers to the actual period of service when an elected official holds the office. When a Congressman has resigned halfway his term, this is not considered an interruption, but the service is still regarded his full term or his actual tenure. Thus, tenure is the actual incumbency. 3. Qualifications. a. A natural-born citizen of the Philippines; b. At least 25 years of age on the day of the election; c. Able to read and write; d. A registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, except for a party-list representative; and e. A resident of the district for a period of no less than one year preceding the date of the election..
Number and Election/ Selection of Members of the House of Representatives.
Conditions for the Apportionment of Elected Representatives.
What is gerrymandering? Gerrymandering is the act of altering the voting districts so they are unfairly arranged for the benefit of a particular party by or candidate. The practice was supposed to have been initiated by Eldridge Gerry, Governor of Massachussetts. (8 Bouviers law Dictionary) Party-List and Sectoral Representatives The basic aim of every representative government is to give the broadest possible representation to all interests in its law and policy-making body. It becomes necessary to give an opportunity to the various social, economic, and other groups or sectors of our society to have their voices heard. And because they are usually without financial resources or political machinery, it becomes the obligation of the government to extend such opportunity without the need to go through an expensive electoral contest. For this reason, the party-list system has been adopted in the new Constitution to assure them of representation in the highest lawmaking body of the Republic. 1. Under the party-list system, in addition to the members of the House of Representatives elected from the legislative districts, 20% of its local membership shall be elected from a list of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. (Art. IX, C-Sec. 7-8) Thus, if there are 250 members, 50 must be party-list representatives. People will vote not for individual candidates but for the registered parties which will be entitled to such number of seats depending on the percentage of votes received. 2. Sectoral representation is necessary because it is almost impossible for example for a farmer, a laborer, or a public-school teacher, to win in an election. After three (3) consecutive terms, it is expected that enough of the people organized sectorally will be able to win seats in the House of Representatives under the party-list system. The success of the system will help break up monopoly control in politics by the dominant political parties, effectively redistribute political power, and strengthen the base of popular sovereignty in the provinces and cities..
Meaning of Representation. It is assumed that in a democratic state a member of a legislative assembly speaks and acts in behalf of all the people of constituency, geographically or otherwise, which elected him. This is called representation. (Jacobsen & Lipman, 2000).
There are wide differences of opinion as to the proper duty of a representative such as a member of Congress. 1. One theory holds that he is primarily an agent of his constituents committed to follow their instructions and wishes to look out for their local interests. 2. A contrary theory holds that the representative is an officer of government and should act for the people of the State as a whole rising above parochial considerations. Therefore, in best serving his constituents and the nation as a whole, he must use his independent judgment. 3. A third concept holds that he should consult and act with the leaders of his party subordinating his own personal convictions and the transient interests of his constituents to the general program adopted by the party. In practice, a representative should try to conform to all those theories. He may fail to be re-elected if he ignores his constituents wishes on matters which a great number consider important. He may be supplanted by another if he does not comprehend the ultimate effects of policies and assume ta statesmanlike attitude toward national problems. Again, he may go down to defeat with his entire party if he fails to support it. One or another of the three theories is fundamental in existing or proposed schemes of representation. (Jacobsen & Lipman, 2000).
Kinds of Election of Members of Congress Sec. 8. Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of the Senators and the Members of the House of Representatives shall be held on the second Monday of May. Sec. 9. In case of vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term. There are two (2) kinds of elections for members of Congress, namely: 1. Regular election - It shall be held on the second Monday of May. Congress may, by law, provide otherwise. (Sec.8). If the election is held beyond the term of office, the members of Congress cannot hold-over; and 2. Special election - It may be called in case a vacancy arises from the Senate or House of Representatives to fill such vacancy in a manner prescribed by law. The Senator or Representative elected shall serve only for the unexpired term. (Sec. 9).
Salaries of the Members of Congress Congress is not prohibited from increasing or decreasing the salary of its members. However, any increase can take effect only after the expiration of the full term of the members approving such increase. This rule applies even as to members who voted against the increase. The restriction prevents Congress from increasing the salary of its members during their incumbency unless there is clear need for it. T ermination of Members of Congress 1. Voluntary renunciation of the office (Art. VI, Sec 7); 2. Forfeiture of seat of a member in Congress during incumbency. in case when he or she keeps another office or employment in the government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporation of subsidiaries. (Sec. 13); 3. A penalty of suspension may serve a member of the Congress for disciplinary action as determined by each House's rules of proceeding (Sec. 16[3|). Congress can punish any of its members for disorderly conduct. 4. An Electoral Tribunal, through a resolution, may disqualify a member of Congress in an election contest (Sec. 17); 5. By means of resignation, death, incapacity, or conviction which carries a penalty of disqualification to hold office..
Rights and Privileges of Members of Congress. The Constitutional rights and privileges of members of Congress shall include the following:.
1. Over and above, the power to make laws and to pass resolutions, 2. To approve appointments made by the President through Commission of Appointments; 3. To decide cases of electoral protest involving its members through an Electoral Tribunal; 4. To declare the existence of a state of war by 2/3 voted of both Houses, voting independently; 5. To ratify treaties upon 2/3 votes of all Members or Senate; 6. To grant the President emergency powers in times of war and national distress; 7. To provide for the rules of presidential succession should the Speaker of the House fail to qualify; 8. To concur to a grant of amnesty by the President; 9. To exercise the power to override the veto power of the President; 10. To hear and decide cases of impeachment against high officials;.
Parliamentary Immunities Art. VI, Sec. 2 provides two immunities, which a member of Congress may enjoy in the exercise of his task (while Congress is in session). These are: 1. A Senator or a member of the House of Representatives shall be privileged from arrest while Congress is in session; and 2. No member shall be questioned nor be held in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof. The above privileges are personal ones and may be waived. There are, however, exemptions from parliamentary immunities: 1. Given the gravity and seriousness of the offense committed, any member of the Congress cannot invoke immunity from arrest, when the penalty of the charge levelled against him carries the penalty of more than six (6) years of imprisonment; and 2. When a member is not acting as a member of Congress, but on his personal capacity. (Munoz, 2002).
Limitations of the Investigative Power of Congress.