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How a bill becomes a law Legislative proposals may come from various sources but in the Philippines the

procedure for introducing it into the legislative process is similar for both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Legislators may develop ideas for legislation. Interest groups may also provide the initiative for measures. Constituents, either as individuals or groups, may also propose legislations. Congress members may also introduce a bill upon request even though he or she may not necessarily be entirely acquainted or supportive of the measure. The Office of the President is also an active source of legislative initiative, by the Senates own admission. Apparently, once the president has outlined his legislative program in the State of the Nation address for the year, executive departments and agencies transmit to the House and the Senate drafts of proposed legislations which provide the implementing laws to carry out the presidents programs. Filing a measure Regardless of where the bill originates, it can be introduced only a member of Congress alone for legislative power is vested on them by the Constitution. There is no limit to the number of bills a member may introduce. It is not uncommon to find House and Senate bills with sponsorship and authorships. Neither is it necessary for a bill to first undergo passage in one chamber before it can be acted upon by the other. In fact, major legislation is often introduced in both houses as companion or identical bills in order to speed up the legislative mill by encouraging the two Houses to tackle the proposal simultaneously. At the House of Representatives, bills and proposed resolutions are signed by their author or authors and, filed with the Secretary General of the House who assigns a number to the specific bill. This bill then goes to the Committee on Rules. From the Committee on Rules, the Majority Floor Leader assigns the bill to the appropriate committee or committees for referral upon its first reading. If the Committee on Rules has yet to be created, say upon the opening of a new Congress, the acting floor leader determines the appropriate committees to which the measure shall be referred. In the current rules of the House (15th Congress) revived bills and resolutions filed in previous Congresses but were never passed need to acknowledge prior authors in their explanatory notes. Also, as a rule, one that is constitutionally mandated, a bill shall have only one subject expressed in its title. 1 The Committee on Rules sees through this by making sure all bills that pass through it comply with this basic requirement. It becomes the Majority floor leaders responsibility then to point to the bills author when there is such inconsistency and to recommend making the necessary adjustments. This makes lawmaking in the Philippines relatively different in the US from where it modeled many of its institutions. For instance, while the single subject rule is provided for by many state constitutions in the United States, neither the rules of the US Congress nor the US Constitution embraces this principle. The rationale behind the single-subject rule is to avoid complexity in laws and to prevent politicians from sneaking provisions that have nothing to do with the original intent

Sec. 26(1) Article VI. The 1987 Constitution.

of the proposal (e.g. rider) or from piggybacking unpopular provisions behind extrinsically acceptable measures. These amendments are typically introduced to the bills at the last minute, leaving little or no room for detection. In cases when, say bills of local application seeking the establishment of the same facility, the delivery of a similar service, or grant of the same privilege provided for in another bill filed by the same legislator, the secretary general of the House makes a report of this concern upon submission of the bill for first reading. First reading The secretary general of the House of Representatives is tasked to report all bills and resolutions for First Reading within three session days from their receipt. First reading of a bill involves only the reading of the number assigned to it (the prefix HB followed by a number assigned the measure based on the order in which it is introduced, e.g. HB00108), title, and author of the bill, followed by the referral of the bill by the Speaker of the House to the appropriate committee. During the first reading the principal author may propose the inclusion of co-authors by submitting their names to the secretary general or through a motion in a plenary session. However, under the 15th Congress, measures reported out by a committee after conducting hearings and inquiries on certain issues or concerns within its jurisdiction are considered to have undergone first reading upon their referral to the Committee on Rules. As a general rule, a bill or resolution shall be referred to only one committee. Whenever a bill or resolution covers a subject matter that relates to the jurisdiction of more than one committee, it shall be referred to the committee within whose jurisdiction the subject matter directly and principally relates to. An exception is when a bill provides for an appropriation of public funds, or contains tax or revenue proposals. In this case, the committee to which the bill was referred to must also transmit a copy of the bill to the Committee on Appropriations or the Committee on Ways and Means, so they can comment on the tax or revenue aspect of the measure. The committee to which the bill or joint resolution is referred shall be principally responsible for submitting a report to the House. In its report it may incorporate the recommendations of the Committee on Appropriations or the Committee on the Ways and Means. A committee to which a bill is referred may then request through its chairperson another committee (through the latters chairperson) for comments on a bill or resolution pending before it, and subject to the consent of the latter, await such comments within a period mutually agreed upon before preparing the committee report on the bill or resolution. A committee to which a bill is referred may then request through its chairperson another committee (through the latters chairperson) for comments on a bill or resolution pending before it, and subject to the consent of the latter, await such comments within a period mutually agreed upon before preparing the committee report on the bill or resolution. The committee chairperson may also make a written request to the Committee on Rules should there be a need to refer the bill to a more appropriate committee. A committee may decide to approve a bill with or without amendments, as well as substitute and consolidated bills. Substitute and consolidated bills have for authors the first two authors of the original bills in the order in which their names appear and to their dates of filing. The names of the committee chairpersons and other members of the committee may also be listed as authors of the measure, if they so desire. Where

two or more bills with conflicting provisions cover the same subject matter, the author of version of the bill that has been adopted shall be considered as the principal author. The committees update members of the status of the bill through email and through the House website. When a committee has decided favorably on a proposed measure, the bill is filed with the secretary general along with other supporting documents. The secretary general thereafter assigns a number to the report. The sponsoring committee also furnishes the Committee on Rules copies of the bill. Under the current House rules, a sponsoring committee may dispense with the report pertaining to bills filed in the immediately preceding Congress upon the approval of majority of the committee members in a quorum. When a committee decides on a bill unfavorably, the authors are notified of the reason in writing and, as far as practicable through email, within five days after the bill has been laid on the table. A committee which fails too act on a bill for more than 30 days, however, may also be relieved from deliberating the bill through a written motion to the secretary general by any member of the House. A discharged bill is then placed in the custody of the secretary general who arranges for the signature of House members. When one-fifth (1/5) of all the members sign the motion, the bill is included in the calendar of business in the next session of the House. The Committee on Rules, through the majority leader, may declare a bill or resolution urgent and consider it in accordance with a timetable. The timetable, prepared by the Committee on Rules, fixes the date when the bill or resolution must be reported by the committee concerned, the number of days or hours to be allotted to the consideration of the bill or resolution in plenary session. The phase following the first reading until its passage on second reading, in other words, is where most of the research, deliberation, and negotiation actually take place. Second Reading A bill on second reading is read in full. However, in the current rules, this can be dispensed with if copies of the bill have been distributed to members of the House. The bill is then subjected to debate and motions. Debate begins with the sponsorship speech of the sponsoring committees chairperson or a designated member of the committee followed by the authors of the measure should they choose to. After the close of debate, the House proceeds to consider amendments to the measure. The house then votes on the bill for adoption on second reading. Local bills may be summarily approved on second reading through an omnibus motion of the majority leader, citing the bill numbers and their pages in the calendar of business. Third Reading A bill approved on second reading is included in the calendar of bills and joint resolutions for third reading. A bill, however, may be recommitted to the appropriate committee before final approval on third reading. But once it reaches its third reading no further amendment is allowed. Nominal voting is done immediately and the result entered in the Journal. Explanation of votes is allowed only after the announcement of the voting results by the secretary general.

The constitution specifically provides that no bill shall become law unless it passes three readings on three separate days and printed copies of the measure in its final form are distributed to the members of the House at least three days before its passage.2 The only exception the organic law provides is when the President certifies the bill as urgent to meet a public calamity or emergency.3 Transmission to the Senate After a bill is approved on third reading it is submitted to the Senate for consideration. A bill passed by the House and transmitted to the Senate typically goes to a committee unless a counterpart bill has already been reported by an appropriate committee and calendared. If the measures approved originated from the Senate (or amendments of House bills by the Senate), the secretary general notifies the Senate of the action taken within the reglementary period within which a member of the House can file a motion for reconsideration. A bill passed by the House, in other words, takes the same route in the Senate although it can occur simultaneously. However, if a measure that originated from the Senate is substantially similar to the House bill, committee reporting is dispensed with. If the counterpart house bill is on second reading, the Senate version may be adopted as a substitute. If the counterpart version is on third reading, the House may reconsider its approval on second reading and again adopt the Senate version as substitute. The House has the option to either concur with the Senate amendments to the House bill or adopt the Senate version of the bill. Conference Committees In cases of conflicting provisions or where the House does not agree with any of the Senate amendments, differences may be settled by conference committees composed of representatives from both chambers. In resolving differences between the two opposing measures, the House rules requires members to support as much as possible the House version. The House panel in the conference committee also reports if the differences are too substantial so appropriate action may be taken. The chair of the committee that endorsed the bill as well as the principal author sit as members of the House panel. The rest of the House panel members are appointed by the House speaker after ensuring equitable representation of the majority and minority. A conference committee report has to be finalized within 60 days from the establishment of the bicameral committee. Bicameral committee members affix their signatures to each of the conference reports page, including the last page. The report contains a clear and detailed statement of the changes in or amendments to the subject measures, with copies of the original measures as attachments. When the conferees have reached agreement on a bill, the conference committee staff writes a conference report indicating changes made in the bill and explaining each sides actions. Once a conference committee completes its works, it can now be submitted to the floor for its approval. Debate on conference reports is highly privileged and can interrupt most other business. The report is then transmitted to the secretary general along with electronic versions. A conference committee report needs to be ratified by majority of
2 3

Sec. 26(2), Article VI, 1987 Constitution In practice, however, measures certified as urgent typically are not limited to national emergency or calamity.

House members present in a quorum. Approval of the conference report by both houses, along with any amendments on disagreement, constitutes final approval of the bill. Enrolled bill An enrolled bill pertains simply to the final copy of a measure approved by a legislative body. The House speaker orders the enrollment of the bill within three days after the final approval of both legislative chambers. The Bill and Index Service of the House and the secretariat of the committees that submitted the report for the measure then make sure that the bill contains the provisions approved by both houses. The speaker and the secretary general then attach their signatures to the enrolled bill within five working days from enrollment to attest to its correctness. Afterwards, it will be signed by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President. Action by the president In keeping with the system of check and balance in a presidential system, every bill passed by Congress is presented to the president for approval. An important feature of legislative policymaking in the Philippines which distinguishes it from the American model, however, is that a bill can still become law even without the president s signature. By law, the president may either approve an enrolled bill and affix his signature, or veto the same and communicate his decision within 30 days from receipt of the enrolled bill. A bill, however, automatically lapses into law if the president does not act on it within 30 days from receipt. A bill may also become a law despite an executive veto if Congress overrides the veto by two thirds vote of members.

Action by the President. Every bill passed by Congress shall be presented to the President for approval. If the President does not approve the bill, the President vetoes it and returns the same to the House together with the specific objections. The President shall communicate the veto on any bill to the House within thirty (30) days after receipt thereof, otherwise, it shall become a law as if it was signed. Section 65. Procedure on Vetoed Bills. If the President vetoes a bill or any part thereof, the House shall record the objections of the President in the Journal and may proceed to reconsider the bill or item(s) thereof that were vetoed. During reconsideration, the House shall proceed to nominal voting on the bill or the vetoed item(s) thereof. The affirmative and negative votes with the names of the Members voting shall be recorded in the Journal. If the bill or vetoed item is passed by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of all Members of each House, the bill including item(s) thereof vetoed by the President shall become law.

Section 66. Procedure for Resolutions. Resolutions shall be subject to the same procedure as bills regarding introduction, reference to the appropriate committee, and consideration: Provided, That the Committee on Rules may calendar any resolution for immediate consideration by the House for reasons of urgency. Section 67. Messages. Messages from the President of the Philippines shall be reported to the House and referred to the appropriate committees. Section 68. Memorials and Petitions. Communications from heads of departments of the Executive and Judicial Departments, memorials and petitions shall be reported to the House and, when necessary, referred to the appropriate committees. A bill may become a law, even without the Presidents signature, if the President does not sign a bill within 30 days from receipt in his office. A bill may also become a law without the Presidents signature if Congress overrides a presidential veto by two-thirds vote. The Secretary General shall report to the House the time of presentation of the bill to the President and the record thereof shall be entered in the Journal. The Speaker shall order the enrollment of approved bills within three (3) days after final approval by both Houses. The Bills and Index Service and the secretariat of the committee(s) that recommended the approval of the bill shall ensure that the bill is in the form and contains the provisions approved by both Houses. The enrolled bill shall be signed within five (5) working days by the Speaker and the Secretary General. Upon the lapse of thirty (30) days from receipt of the bill by the Office of the President, and no communication of a veto made thereon by the President is received by the House within the same period, the Secretary General shall certify to this fact which shall be recorded in the Journal. Section 64.

Committee Reports A committee report describes the purpose and scope of the bill, explains any committee amendments, indicates proposed changes in existing law and such other materials that are relevant. Moreover, reports are numbered in the order in which they are filed and printed. back to top Calendaring for Floor Debates: Consideration of, and Debates on Bills Under Section 45 of Rule XVI of the Rules of the Senate, the Senate shall have three calendars, to wit: A Calendar for Ordinary Business," in which shall be included the bills reported out by the committees in the order in which they were received by the Office of the Secretary; the bills whose consideration has been agreed upon by the Senate without setting the dates on which to effect it; and also the bills whose consideration has been postponed indefinitely;

A Calendar for Special Orders, in which the bills and resolutions shall be arranged successively and chronologically, according to the order in which they were assigned for consideration; and A Calendar for Third Reading, in which shall be included all bills and joint resolutions approved on second reading. Thus, a bill which has a committee report can be referred to the Calendar for Ordinary Business. It may again be moved to its Special Order of Business for priority action. On the other hand, the consideration and debate of bills and resolutions are spelled out in Rule XXV, Section 71 of the Rules of the Senate. It provides as follows: Sec. 71. The Senate shall adopt the following procedure in the consideration of bills and joint resolutions: (a) Second reading of the bill. (b) Sponsorship by the committee chairman, or by any member designated by the committee. (c) If a debate ensues, turns for and against the bill shall be taken alternately: Provided, however, That any committee member who fails to enter his objection or to make of record his dissenting vote after it shall have been included in the Order of Business and read to the Senate in accordance with the second paragraph of Section 24 hereof, shall not be allowed to speak against the bill during the period of general debate although he may propose and speak or vote on amendments thereto. (d) The sponsor of the bill or author of the motion shall have the right to close the debate. (e) With the debate closed, the consideration of amendments, if any, shall be in order. (f) After the period of amendments, the voting of the bill on Second Reading. (g) Bills shall be submitted to final vote by yeas and nays after printed copies thereof in final form have been distributed to the Members at least three (3) days prior to their passage, except when the President of the Philippines certifies to the necessity of their immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency, in which case the voting on Third Reading may take place immediately after second reading. After the bill is approved on Third Reading, it will be submitted to the House of Representatives for consideration. A bill passed by the Senate and transmitted to the House usually goes to a committee, unless a House bill on the same subject has already been reported out by the appropriate committee and placed on the calendar. Under normal procedures, therefore, a bill passed by one chamber and transmitted to the other is referred to the appropriate committee, from which it must follow the same route to passage as a bill originating from that chamber. Amendments may be offered at both the committee and floor action stages, and the bill as it emerges from the second chamber may differ significantly from the version passed by the first. A frequently used procedure when this occurs is for the chamber that acts last to bring up the other chambers bill and substitute its own version, then retaining only the latters bill number. That numbered bill, containing the Senate and House version, is then sent to a conference committee to resolve all differences. back to top Conference Committee Action Calling a Conference

Either chamber can request a conference once both have considered the same legislation. Generally, the chamber that approved the legislation first will disagree to the amendments made by the second body and will make a request that a conference be convened. Sometimes, however, the second body will ask for a conference immediately after it has passed the legislation, assuming that the other chamber will not accept its amendments. Selection of Conferees Under the Rules of the Senate (Rule XII, Section 34), the Senate President shall designate the members of the Senate panel in the conference committee with the approval of the Senate. The Senate delegation to a conference can range in size from three to a larger number, depending on the length and complexity of the legislation involved. Authority of Conferees The authority given to the Senate conferees theoretically is limited to matters in disagreement between the two chambers. They are not authorized to delete provisions or language agreed to by both the House and the Senate as to draft entirely new provisions. In practice, however, the conferees have wide latitude, except where the matters in disagreement are very specific. Moreover, conferees attempt to reconcile their differences, but generally they try to grant concession only insofar as they remain confident that the chamber they represent will accept the compromise. The Conference Report When the conferees have reached agreement on a bill, the conference committee staff writes a conference report indicating changes made in the bill and explaining each sides actions. Once a conference committee completes its works, it can now be submitted to the floor for its approval. Debate on conference reports is highly privileged and can interrupt most other business. Approval of the conference report by both houses, along with any amendments on disagreement, constitutes final approval of the bill. back to top Final Legislative Action After both houses have given final approval to a bill, a final copy of the bill, known as the enrolled bill, shall be printed, and certified as correct by the Secretary of the Senate and the Secretary General of the House of Representatives. After which, it will be signed by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President. A bill may become a law, even without the Presidents signature, if the President does not sign a bill within 30 days from receipt in his office. A bill may also become a law without the Presidents signature if Congress overrides a presidential veto by two-thirds vote. back to top Summary The following is a summary of how a bill becomes a law: Filing/Calendaring for First Reading A bill is filed in the Office of the Secretary where it is given a corresponding number and calendared for First Reading. First Reading Its title, bill number, and authors name are read on the floor, after which it is referred to the proper committee.

Committee Hearings/Report Committee conducts hearings and consultation meetings. It then either approves the proposed bill without an amendment, approves it with changes, or recommends substitution or consolidation with similar bills filed. Calendaring for Second Reading The Committee Report with its approved bill version is submitted to the Committee on Rules for calendaring for Second Reading. Second Reading Bill author delivers sponsorship speech on the floor. Senators engage in debate, interpellation, turno en contra, and rebuttal to highlight the pros and cons of the bill. A period of amendments incorporates necessary changes in the bill proposed by the committee or introduced by the Senators themselves on the floor. Voting on Second Reading Senators vote on the second reading version of the bill. If approved, the bill is calendared for third reading. Voting on Third Reading Printed copies of the bills final version are distributed to the Senators. This time, only the title of the bill is read on the floor. Nominal voting is held. If passed, the approved Senate bill is referred to the House of Representatives for concurrence. At the House of Representatives The Lower Chamber follows the same procedures (First Reading, Second Reading and Third Reading). Back to the Senate If the House-approved version is compatible with that of the Senates, the final versions enrolled form is printed. If there are certain differences, a Bicameral Conference Committee is called to reconcile conflicting provisions of both versions of the Senate and of the House of Representatives. Conference committee submits report on the reconciled version of the bill, duly approved by both chambers. The Senate prints the reconciled version in its enrolled form. Submission to Malacaang Final enrolled form is submitted to Malacaang. The President either signs it into law, or vetoes and sends it back to the Senate with veto message. THE SPEAKER LEADS, MANAGES AND PRESIDES over your House of Representatives. A majority of all the Members of the House elects the Speaker. Those who voted for the Speaker belong to the Majority while those who voted for the Speaker's opponent belong to the Minority. Representatives belonging to the Majority choose the Majority Floor Leader who automatically chairs the Committee on Rules, and those in the Minority choose the Minority Floor Leader.The other officers of the House of Representatives are the Deputy Speakers, the Secretary-General and the Sergeant-atArms who are also elected by a majority of all the Representatives. Committees, or small groups of Representatives, headed by committee chairpersons, study proposed laws called bills, and other measures relating to issues and concerns affecting our lives, our communities and our society. They conduct hearings that give us, citizens, opportunities to express our views on proposed laws or measures. Employees of the House constituting Committee Secretariats provide the committees with legislative support services such as research, report preparation, policy studies and the like.

When you visit the House of Representatives, you may see your Representatives in action during sessions or committee hearings. If you wish to speak with any one of them during sessions or hearings, the Pages who assist and run errands for our representatives in the Session Hall and in our conference rooms, can bring your notes and messages to the Representative you wish to speak with. You may also write to your Representatives, attend committee hearings, or ask for information about the legislative process or a specific bill. Your Representatives will appreciate hearing from you because they know how important your views are in making good laws that effectively address the welfare of our people. HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW 1. A bill may be introduced in the House of Representatives or the Senate.* 2. On 1st Reading, the title and number of the bill is read, and then, it is referred to the appropriate committee. 3. A committee studies the bill and conducts hearings on it. Thereafter, a committee report is prepared on the bill.** The committee report is read in open session, and together with the bill, it is referred to the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee can place the bill in the 2 nd Reading Calendar or in the Calendar of Unassigned Business. On 2nd Reading, a bill is subject to debate and amendment before being placed in the 3 rd Reading Calendar for final passage.*** After its passage by one house, the bill goes through the sameprocess in the other house. If amendments are made in one house, the other house must concur.**** When the bill is passed by both houses, it is signed by their respective leaders and sent to the President for approval. The President may sign the bill into a law, or veto all or part of it. The bill becomes a law if, within 30 days after receiving it, the President fails to sign or veto the bill. The bill, even if vetoed by the President, also becomes a law when Congress overrides the veto by a 2/3 vote of all its Members.

4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

* A bill must relate to only one subject matter which must be expressed in its title. ** A Committee only prepares a report on a bill it decides to recommend for approval by the House. *** A bill must undergo 3 readings on 3 separate days except when the President certifies a bill as urgent to meet a public calamity or national emergency. **** If a house has a counterpart bill to a bill passed by the other house, and these bills have conflicting provisions, a conference committee composed of representatives of each house is formed to harmonize the conflicting provisions. Thereafter, if the conflicting provisions are harmonized, a conference committee report is prepared for ratification or approval by both houses. Term of Office of Senators The term of the members of the Senate is expressly provided in Articles VI and XVIII respectively of the Constitution:

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. Sec. 2. The Senators, members of the House of Representatives, and the local officials first elected under this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992. Of the Senators elected in the election in 1992, the first twelve obtaining the highest number of votes shall serve for six years and the remaining twelve for three years. It must be remembered that the 24 Senators first elected under the 1987 Constitution on May 2, 1987 served only for five years ending on June 30, 1992. Of the senators elected in 1992, the first 12 obtaining the highest number of votes served for the full term of six years expiring in 1998, and the last 12 served only three years and ended in 1995. After which, the 12 Senators elected in 1995 shall serve the full term of six years or until year 2001. Those 12 to be elected in 1998 shall also serve the full term of six years. In fine, beginning 1992, 12 Senators shall be elected every three years, so that unlike in the House of Representatives, the Senate shall not at anytime be completely dissolved. Onehalf of the membership is retained as the other half is replaced or reelected every three years. The purpose of the continuity of the life of the Senate is intended to encourage the maintenance of Senate policies as well as guarantee that there will be experienced members who can help and train newcomers in the discharge of their duties. In addition, in case of resignation, death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President and Vice-President, the Senate President shall act as President. Moreover, the Constitution, in Section 4, Article VI, provides limits to the extent a member of the Senate can run for reelection. It provides as follows: 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 inter-ruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected. back to top Privileges of Senators Salaries The salaries of members of the Senate is governed by Article VI of the Constitution as follows: Sec. 10. The salaries of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall be determined by law. No increase in said compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the full term of all the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives approving such increase. Sec. 20. The records and books of accounts of Congress shall be preserved and be open to the public in accordance with law, and such books shall be audited by the Commission on Audit which shall publish annually an itemized list of amounts paid to and expenses incurred for each Member. It must be noted that in accordance with the above provisions, there is no prohibition against the receipt of allowances by the members of Congress. The second section, on the other hand, seeks to avoid the recurrence of the abuses committed by the members of the Old Congress in allotting themselves fabulous allowances the amount of which they refused to divulge to the people. It is now provided under the Constitution that the books of accounts of Congress shall be open to public inspection and must be audited by the

Commission on Audit. Moreover, every member of Congress itemized expenditures, including allowances, shall be published annually for the information of the people. It is interesting to note that the Constitution in Section 17, Article XVIII, provides the corresponding salaries of Senators, to wit: Until the Congress provides otherwise, the President shall receive an annual salary of three hundred thousand pesos; the Vice-President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, two hundred forty thousand pesos each; the Senators, the members of the House of Representatives, the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and the Chairmen of the Constitutional Commissions, two hundred four thousand pesos each; and the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, one hundred eighty thousand pesos each. However, under Joint Resolution No. 1, the salaries of the members of the Senate is increased to salary grade 33 with monthly equivalent rate of P35,000.00. The Senate President, on the other hand, is raised to salary grade 34 with a monthly basic salary of P40,000.00. back to top Parliamentary Immunities A. Privilege from Arrest One of the privileges that a member of Congress enjoys is the privilege from arrest. In this regard, Section 11, Article VI, of the Constitution provides as follows: A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in Congress or in any committee thereof. This privilege is intended to insure representation of the constituents by the members of Congress. In Vera vs. Avelino, the Supreme Court, quoting a decision of the United States Supreme Court, explained for whose benefit the right to parliamentary immunity is secured: These privileges are thus secured not with the intention of protecting the members against prosecutors for their own benefit, but to support the rights of the people, by enabling their representatives to execute the function of their office without fear of prosecution, civil or criminal. A member of Congress could only be suspended by the House of which he is a member and only for the purpose of self-preservation or self-protection. To protect a member of Congress from oppression, even this power has been circumscribed by the 1935 Constitution and further limited by the 1987 Constitution. The rationale for this was expressed by the Supreme Court as early as 11 September 1924 in Alejandrino vs. Quezon: It is noteworthy that the Congress of the United States shall not in all its long history suspend a member. And the reason is obvious. Punishment by way of reprimand or fine vindicates the outraged dignity of the House without depriving the constituency of representation; expulsion, when permissible, likewise vindicates the honor of the legislative body while giving to the constituency an opportunity to elect anew; but suspension deprives the electoral district of representation without that district being afforded any means by which to fill the vacancy. By suspension, the seat remains filled, but the occupant is silenced.

back to top B. Privilege of Speech and Debate 1. Bases of the Privilege 1.1. Constitutional Basis Privilege speech is a parliamentary privilege enjoyed by a Member of Congress provided for in Section 11, Article VI of the Constitution. It states as follows: Sec. 11. A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses be punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No Member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in Congress or in any committee thereof. 1.2 Rules of the Senate This is contained in Section 110, Rule XL, Rules of the Senate, which provides as follows: Sec. 110. After the consideration of the matters contained in the Calendar for Special Orders, a Senator may forthwith request for and avail of the privilege to speak for one (1) hour on any matter of public interest. If more than one (1) Senator wish to avail of the same privilege, the Senator who first announced his intention shall be given priority. The period of time allowed in this section may, upon motion of the Senator on the floor be extended for such time as may be necessary for him to finish his speech unless a majority of all the Senators vote against such extension. back to top 2. Purpose of the Privilege Members of Congress cannot be prosecuted for any words spoken in debate or in connection with voting or used in written reports or with things generally done in a session of either House in relation to the business before it. This protection is extended to them during the session on the occasion of the exercise of their functions either in their respective chambers or in joint assembly, or in committees or commission. The purpose of this privilege of speech or debate is not to protect the members against prosecutions for their own benefit but to enable them as representatives of the people to execute the functions of their office without fear of prosecution, civil or criminal. As held in the case of Osmea v. Pendatun, the Supreme Court took the occasion of defining the purpose of the privilege. It ruled: Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity which is a fundamental privilege cherished in every legislative assembly of the democratic world. As old as the English Parliament, its purpose is to enable and encourage a representative of the public to discharge his public trust with firmness and success for it is indispensably necessary that he should enjoy the fullest liberty of speech, and that he should be protected from the resentment of every one, however, powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may occasion. Such immunity has come to this country from the practices of Parliament as construed and applied by the Congress of the United States. Its extent and application remain no longer in doubt insofar as related to the question before us. It guarantees the legislator complete freedom of expression without fear of being made responsible in criminal or civil actions before the courts or any other forum outside of the Congressional hall. But it does not protect him from responsibility before the legislative

body itself whenever his words and conduct are considered by the latter disorderly or unbecoming to a member thereof. back to top 3. Precedents and Practices The following are some of the precedents and practices observed in the previous sessions of Congress concerning the privilege speech: 3.1. When It Can and When It Cannot It has been ruled that the privilege granted under this section cannot be availed of when the House has already proceeded to transact its business, such as the consideration of bills. But in a certain case, when the House was already considering unfinished business or business for the day, a member was permitted, through a motion unanimously approved, to deliver a short speech on an important case in his province. A member availing himself of such a privilege was entitled to one full hour. Having the floor on the privilege hour, he could not be forced to yield to interpellations. The one-hour privilege not having expired yet, a member, who requested only 10 minutes in order to deliver his speech, was allowed to use the rest of the hour. He could not be precluded from continuing with his speech until the one hour was consumed. 3.2. On Request for Reservation On point of order whether preference be given to a member who requests a previous reservation over any member who stands up on the floor ahead of the former, it has been held that an unwritten rule, sanctioned by immemorial practice, establishes such a preference. A request for reservation to use the privilege hour on a future date made on the floor by a member is recorded in the Journal. The time of a member automatically expires the moment he takes his seat and, consequently, he cannot answer questions unless an extension of his time is granted by unanimous consent. The one-hour privilege can be extended only by unanimous consent. 3.3. Decorum on Speech A member, availing himself of the privilege hour, may refuse interpellations, but he may be advised by the Chair not to use any improper language. He should use a language in conformity with the decorum and dignity of the House. The Chair entertained a motion to delete from the Record a portion of a members speech under the privilege hour as unparliamentary for being against the dignity and integrity of the members, and when submitted by the Chair to the House, the motion was approved. When a member attacks the leadership of the House, he may be declared out of order and deprived further use of the privilege hour. A member should, during the privilege hour, refrain from making personal allusions to any member. In availing himself of the privilege hour, a member may, under his own responsibility, speak against an absent fellow member. It is indecorous of the Senate during a privilege speech. In the exercise of his one- hour privilege, a member can speak on any subject of national interest, and he may even criticize the President on the appointment of certain persons to the government. But delivering speeches attacking the Chief Executive constitutes disorderly conduct for which a member may be suspended or expelled from the House as a disciplinary action. The Chair sustained a point of order which asked for deletion from the Record, as unparliamentary, parts of the privilege speech attacking the Catholic religion.

3.4. Interpellation A member having the floor to avail himself of the privilege hour may refuse to yield to interpellation or yield for information. He cannot be forced to yield to another so that, in turn, the latter can answer questions. It is in order for a member interpellating to lay the premises of his question. He may interpellate in the manner he so desires and use any of the official languages even if different from that used by the member who has the floor. A member on the floor using the remaining portion of the privilege hour may stop yielding to further interpellations. The time consumed by interpellation is counted against a member who has the floor; that is the reason why he has the option to yield or not to questions. 3.5. Precedence and Interruption The House sustained the Chair that after the reading of the order of business, the onehour privilege has precedence over any other matters, such as question of privilege. A member availing himself of the one-hour privilege may yield to further interpellation, but he cannot be interrupted except by a point of order. He cannot be deprived of the floor except with his consent, and he may deliver his speech in such manner as he pleases as long as he speaks with due decorum. The Chair did not entertain a motion referring a one-hour privilege speech to a committee on the ground that while a member is enjoying the privilege, he cannot be deprived of the floor except by a point of order. 3.6. Extension of Time After a member has consumed the privilege hour, no extension of time for the privilege can be granted if there is an objection to the motion for such extension. An objection to a motion for extension of the one-hour privilege is not debatable. The one-hour privilege can no longer be extended when, after its delivery, the member using the privilege sits down, thereby forfeiting his right to continue. When a member sits down after the expiration of his one-hour privilege, his time can no longer be extended. A member who has the privilege hour may yield a portion of it to another member. When a member ceded a portion of his one-hour privilege, such a portion could not, without his consent, be extended to more than the number of minutes agreed upon. A member using the remaining portion of the privilege hour may refuse any interpellation in order to save the time left for him. 3.7. Reference Speech The Chair entertained a motion to refer a privilege speech to a committee after it had been delivered on the floor. 3.8. Stricken Off the Record On motion approved by the House, the whole speech including interpellations, was stricken off the record for being unparliamentary. During the privilege hour, the Chair motu proprio ordered stricken off the record the word "dishonorable" uttered with reference to the members of the House by the member interpellating. back to top 4. Relevance 4.1. No assured government by the people unless their representatives possess this privilege.

There could be no assured government by the people, unless their representatives had unquestioned possession of this privilege. Thus, only the House of Commons was concerned in its vindication, and only in its connection with that House could it be a matter of constitutional importance. The Lords, of course, possess the right equally with the Commons, and thus it is considered one of the common privileges of Parliament. But it seems never to have been an issue with the Lords. As Stubbs says, "he would have been a bold King indeed who had attempted to stop discussion in the House of Lords." 4.2. To protect independence and integrity of Congress and to reinforce separation of powers. In U.S. vs. Johnson, Justice John Marshall Harlan said that the purpose of the speech or debate clause is prophylactic, that it was adopted by the Constitutional Convention (without discussion or opposition) because of the English experience with the intent to protect the independence and integrity of Congress and to reinforce the separation of powers by preventing an unfriendly executive and a hostile judiciary appointed by the executive from reaching a congressional activity for evidence of criminality. 4.3. Basis of corrective legislative measures. In practice, many subjects of privilege speeches are the bases of consequent appropriate committee investigations of legislative bodies, and these may result to corrective measures being filed on the basis of such committee investigations. It appears to be coextensive with the range of legislative power, like the range of legislative inquiry together with its limitations. 4.4. To voice out dissent, the essence of democracy. It is the best outlet of the people and of the opposition to ventilate anomalies in government and misgovernment, to express their concerns and sentiments thru their representatives in legislative bodies. In short, to voice out dissent is the essence of democracy. back to top 5. Scope of Privilege Speech: Personal and Collective A question of privilege consists of a question affecting the rights of the Senate collectively or of its members individually including its privileges, reputation, conduct, decorum, dignity and integrity of proceedings. A Senator may rise to a question of personal privilege at any time, but he cannot interrupt or take another Senator from the floor for that purpose without the latters consent. However, the reading of the Journal cannot be interrupted by a question of personal privilege neither can a question of privilege be raised when there is no quorum or when the roll is being called. Under this provision, a member of the Senate may raise a question of privilege by a statement or remark on the floor and if sustained by the Chair, the member is entitled to speak. After the privilege speech of a Senator, another member was recognized on a question of personal privilege to clarify certain matters in which he participated and which was left out in the privilege speech of the former. A member rose to speak on a question of personal privilege as his name was linked in a news item which was considered as a malicious publication. Franking Privilege

Republic Act No. 69 remains a good law. It expressly grants members of Congress the transmission free of charge within the Philippines of mail matters. Sections 1 and 2 of this law provide as follows: All mail matter of Senators and of members of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, addressed for delivery within the Philippines, shall be received, transmitted and delivered in the mails of the Philippines free of postage: Provided, That each such mail matter when addressed to persons or offices other than government officers or offices shall not exceed one hundred and twenty grams in weight. The envelope or wrapper of such mail matter shall bear on the left upper corner the name and official designation of the official sending the mail matter, and the words "Senate of the Philippines," or "House of Representatives," as the case may be, and on the right upper corner the words "Penalty for private or unauthorized use to avoid payment of postage, P500.00." back to top Suspension and Disqualification Manner of Imposing Discipline Section 16(3), Article VI of the Constitution provides the manner in which members of the Senate may be disciplined, suspended or expelled. It provides as follows: Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days. Rules of proceedings are needed for the orderly conduct of the sessions of Congress. Unless such rules violate fundamental or individual rights, they are within the exclusive discretion of each House to formulate and interpret and may not be judicially reversed. Without the above provision, the authority to discipline its members can still be exercised by each House as an inherent power, with the concurrence of a majority vote, conformably to the general rule on the will of the majority. With this provision, the disciplinary power is not so much expressly conferred as limited because of the specific conditions laid down for its proper exercise. Thus, the courts may annul any expulsion or suspension of a member that is not concurred in by at least two-thirds of the entire body or any suspension meted out by the legislature, even with the required two-thirds vote, as to any period in excess of the 60day maximum duration. These are procedural matters and therefore justiciable. But the interpretation of the phrase "disorderly behavior" is the prerogative of Congress and cannot as a rule be judicially reviewed. The matter comes in the category of a political question. Accordingly, the Supreme Court did not interfere when the legislature declared that the physical assault by one member against another, or the delivery of a derogatory speech which the member was unable to substantiate, constituted "disorderly behavior" and justified the adoption of disciplinary measures. Other disciplinary measures besides expulsion and suspension are deletion of unparliamentary remarks from the record, fine, imprisonment and censure, sometimes called "soft impeachment." back to top Inhibitions and Disqualifications The Constitution provides in Section 14, Article VI the grounds of inhibitions and disqualifications for members of Congress.

It provides as follows: No Senator or member of the House of Representatives may personally appear as counsel before any court of justice or before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies. Neither shall he, directly or indirectly, be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation, or its subsidiary, during his term of office. He shall not intervene in any matter before any office of the Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office. Appearance of the legislator is now barred before all courts of justice, regardless of rank, composition, or jurisdiction. The disqualification also applies to the revived Electoral Tribunal and to all administrative bodies, like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Labor Relations Commission. Courts martial and military tribunals, being administrative agencies, are included. The purpose of the disqualifications is to prevent the legislator from exerting undue influence, deliberately or not, upon the body where he is appearing. The pressure may not be intended; normally, the appearance is enough, considering the powers available to the legislator which he can exercise to reward or punish a judge deciding his case or, in the case of the Electoral Tribunal, his close association with its members. This is the reason the prohibited appearance must be personal. The lawyer-legislator may still engage in the practice of his profession except that when it comes to trials and hearings before the bodies above-mentioned, appearance may be made not by him but by other members of his law office. In Puyat v. De Guzman, a legislator entered his appearance as counsel for one of the parties to an intracorporate dispute before the Securities and Exchange Commission. He desisted when his representation was challenged under the above-mentioned section. Thereafter, he purchased P200 worth of stocks in the corporation from the faction he was representing and sought to intervene in the said dispute, this time as a stockholder. The Supreme Court did not allow him to do so as his evident purpose was to circumvent the constitutional prohibition. Justice Melencio Herrera declared: Under those facts and circumstances, we are constrained to hold that there has been an indirect appearance as counsel before xxx an administrative body and in our opinion, that is circumvention of the constitutional prohibition. The intervention was an afterthought to enable him to appear actively in the proceeding in some other capacity. To believe the avowed purpose, that is, to enable him eventually to vote and to be elected as Director in the event of an unfavorable outcome of the SEC case, would be pure naivete. He would still appear as counsel indirectly. Legislators are prohibited from being financially interested in any contract with the government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including governmentowned or controlled corporations, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by any of these during their term of office, because of the influences they can easily exercise in obtaining these concessions. The idea is to prevent abuses from being committed by the members of Congress to the prejudice of the public welfare and particularly of legitimate contractors with the government who otherwise might be placed at a disadvantageous position vis--vis the legislator.

It should be noted, though, that not every transaction with the government is barred by this provision. The contracts referred to here are those involving "financial interest," that is, contracts from which the legislator expects to derive some profit at the expense of the government. An illustration is a contract for public works or the sale of office equipment or supplies to the government. By contrast, it cannot be said that the legislator will profit financially from a contract of carriage with a government instrumentality like the PAL since it is the carrier that will benefit from the passengers fare. The last sentence restores an inhibition originally imposed by the 1935 Constitution. Although this provision has never been judicially interpreted, it may be surmised that the rule shall apply to the case, say, of the chairman of the committee on banks serving as legislative consultant for a private bank. back to top Conflict of Interests The provisions in Section 12, Article VI of the Constitution are intended to ensure the probity and objectivity of the members of Congress. There are some persons who may be tempted to run for Congress not because of a desire to serve the people but precisely for the protection or even enhancement of their own interests. By requiring them to make known at the outset their financial and business connections or investments, it is hoped that their potential for self-aggrandizement will be reduced and they will be prevented from using their official positions for ulterior purposes. In some countries, businessmen are required to unload their stockholdings as these might affect their official acts or at least lead to suspicion of chicanery or impropriety in the discharge of their duties in the government. back to top Incompatible and Forbidden Offices Under Section 13, Article VI of the Constitution, it states some other disqualifications by which a member of Congress may hold office, to wit: Sec. 13. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat. Neither shall he be appointed to any office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected. The first part of this section refers to what are known as incompatible offices, which may not be held by the legislator during his tenure in Congress. The purpose is to prevent him from owing loyalty to another branch of the government, to the detriment of the independence of the legislature and the doctrine of separation of powers. The prohibition against the holding of an incompatible office is not absolute; what is not allowed is the simultaneous holding of that office and the seat in Congress. In the case of the rest of the legislators, any of them may hold another office or employment in the government provided he forfeits, as a result, his position in Congress. Forfeiture of the legislators seat, or cessation of his tenure, shall be automatic upon the holding of the incompatible office. Thus, a congress-man who was elected provincial governor was deemed to have automatically forfeited his seat in the House of Representatives when he took his oath for the provincial office. No resolution was necessary to declare his legislative post vacant.

In Adaza v. Pacana, the petitioner and the respondent were elected governor and vicegovernor, respectively, of Misamis Oriental. Both subsequently ran for the Batasang Pambansa, but only the petitioner won. Adaza then qualified as a member of the lawmaking body, whereupon Pacana assumed the governorship as statutory successor. Adaza challenged Pacanas takeover, contending that under the parliamentary system a legislator could concurrently serve as governor; hence, there was no vacancy in the governorship that Pacana could fill. Through Justice Escolin, the Court unanimously rejected this argument and held that Adaza automatically forfeited the governorship the moment he took his oath as a member of the Batasang Pambansa. The constitutional prohibition against a member of the Batasang Pambansa from holding any other office or employment in the government during his tenure is clear. Section 10, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution provides as follows: Sec. 10. A Member of the National Assembly shall not hold any other office or employment in the government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, during his tenure, except that of prime minister or member of the cabinet. xxx The language used in the above-cited section is plain. The only exceptions mentioned therein are the offices of prime minister and cabinet member. The wisdom or expediency of the said provision is a matter which is not within the province of the Court to determine. A public office is a public trust. It is created for the interest and the benefit of the people. As such, a holder thereof is subject to such regulations and conditions as the law may impose and he cannot complain of any restrictions which public policy may dictate on his holding of more than one office. It is therefore of no avail to petitioner that the system of government in other states allows a local elective official to act as an elected member of the parliament at the same time. The dictate of the people in whom legal sovereignty lies is explicit. It provides no exceptions save the two offices specifically cited in the abovequoted constitutional provision. Thus, while it may be said that within the purely parliamentary system of government no incompatibility exists in the nature of the two offices under consideration, as incompatibility herein present is one created by no less than the Constitution itself. In the case at bar, there is no question that petitioner has taken his oath of office as an elected Mambabatas Pambansa and has been discharging his duties as such. In the light of the oft-mentioned constitutional provision, this fact operated to vacate his former post and he cannot now continue to occupy the same, nor attempt to discharge its functions. But not every other office or employment is to be regarded as incompatible with the legislative position. For example, membership in the Electoral Tribunal is permitted by the Constitution itself. Moreover, if it can be shown that the second office is an extension of the legislative position or is in aid of legislative duties, the holding thereof will not result in the loss of the legislators seat in Congress. Accordingly, the chairmen of the Senate and House committees on education retain their seats in Congress while sitting concurrently as ex-officio members in the U.P. Board of Regents. Legislators who serve as treaty negotiators under the President of the Philippines continue to sit in Congress, where they can better work for the approval of the treaty and the passage of the needed implementing legislation.

But even if a member of Congress is willing to forfeit his seat therein, he may not be appointed to any civil office in the government that has been created or the emoluments thereof have been increased while he was incumbent in the legislature. Such a position is a forbidden office. The purpose is to prevent trafficking in public office. Were the rule otherwise, certain legislators, especially those not sure of reelection, might be able to work for the creation or improvement of lucrative positions and, in combination with the President, arrange for their appointment thereto in order to provide for their future security at the expense of the public service. Notably, this provision does not apply to elective offices, which are filled by the voters themselves. The appointment of a member of Congress to the forbidden office is not allowed only during the term for which he was elected, when such office was created or its emoluments were increased. After such term, and even if the legislator is reelected, the disqualification no longer applies and he may therefore be appointed to the office.