ARTICLE VI

Legislative Department

Legislative Power
It is the power or competence of the legislative to propose, enact, ordain, amend/alter, modify, abrogate or repeal laws. It is vested in the Congress which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum.

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate • Composition: Twenty-four (24), elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law House of Representatives
• Composition: not more than 250 members, unless otherwise provided by law, consisting of: a. District Representatives— elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities and the Metropolitan Manila area. (Sec. 5, par. 1, Article VI) b. Party-List Representatives— constitutes 20% of the total number of representatives elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organization.

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate • Composition: Twenty-four (24), elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law House of Representatives
c. Sectoral Representatives—1/2 of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the:
i. Labor; ii. Peasant; iii. Urban poor; iv. Indigenous cultural communities; v. Women; vi. Youth; and vii. Such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate
• Qualifications:
a. Natural-born citizen of the Philippines; b. At least thirty-five (35) years of age on the day of the election; c. Able to read and write; d. Registered voter; e. Resident of the Philippines for not less than 2 years immediately preceding the day of the election.

House of Representatives
Qualifications:
1. Natural-born citizen of the Philippines; 2. At least 25 years of age on the day of the election; 3. Able to read and write; 4. Registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected except the party-list representatives; 5. Resident of the district for a period of not less than 1 year immediately preceding the day of the election;

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate
• Qualifications:
a. Natural-born citizen of the Philippines; b. At least thirty-five (35) years of age on the day of the election; c. Able to read and write; d. Registered voter; e. Resident of the Philippines for not less than 2 years immediately preceding the day of the election.

House of Representatives
6. For party-list representatives or organizations:
a. Natural-born citizen of the Philippines; b. A registered voter; c. A resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election; d. Able to read and write; e. A bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election; f. At least 25 years of age on the day of the election;

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate
• Qualifications:
a. Natural-born citizen of the Philippines; b. At least thirty-five (35) years of age on the day of the election; c. Able to read and write; d. Registered voter; e. Resident of the Philippines for not less than 2 years immediately preceding the day of the election.

House of Representatives
6. For party-list representatives or organizations:
g. The political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups. h. Must comply with the declared policy of enabling Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors to be elected to the House of Representatives; i. Religious sector may not be represented in the party-list system; j. A party or an organization must not be disqualified under Sec. 6 RA 7941;

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate
• Qualifications:
a. Natural-born citizen of the Philippines; b. At least thirty-five (35) years of age on the day of the election; c. Able to read and write; d. Registered voter; e. Resident of the Philippines for not less than 2 years immediately preceding the day of the election.

House of Representatives
6. For party-list representatives or organizations: k. The party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by the government; l. The party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its nominees must likewise do so;

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate
• Qualifications:
a. Natural-born citizen of the Philippines; b. At least thirty-five (35) years of age on the day of the election; c. Able to read and write; d. Registered voter; e. Resident of the Philippines for not less than 2 years immediately preceding the day of the election.

House of Representatives
6. For party-list representatives or organizations: m. Not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees; and n. The nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole.

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate
Disqualifications: a. No Senator shall serve for more than 2 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. (Section 4, Article VI) b. One who has been declared by competent authority as insane or incompetent c. One who has been sentenced by final judgment for: i. Subversion; ii. Insurrection; iii. Rebellion; iv. Any offense for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of not more than 18 months; or v. A crime involving moral turpitude, unless given plenary pardon or granted amnesty (Section 12, BP 881— Omnibus Election Code)

House of Representatives
Disqualifications: a. Shall not serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms. (Sec. 7, Article VI) b. One who has been declared by competent authority as insane or incompetent c. One who has been sentenced by final judgment for: i. Subversion; ii. Insurrection; iii. Rebellion; iv. Any offense for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of not more than 18 months; or v. A crime involving moral turpitude, unless given plenary pardon or granted amnesty (Section 12, BP 881—Omnibus Election Code)

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate
Disqualifications: a. No Senator shall serve for more than 2 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. (Section 4, Article VI) b. One who has been declared by competent authority as insane or incompetent c. One who has been sentenced by final judgment for: i. Subversion; ii. Insurrection; iii. Rebellion; iv. Any offense for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of not more than 18 months; or v. A crime involving moral turpitude, unless given plenary pardon or granted amnesty (Section 12, BP 881— Omnibus Election Code)

House of Representatives
Disqualifications: d. For Party-List Representatives: i. It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association organized for religious purposes; ii. It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal; iii. It is a foreign party or organization; iv. It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes; v. It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections; vi. It declares untruthful statement in its petition; vii. It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; viii. It fails to participate in the last two preceding elections or fails to obtain at least 2% of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two preceding elections for the constituency in which it had registered. (Section 6, RA 7941)

Senate and House of Representatives
Senate
Term of office: 6 years—shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the 30th day of June next following their election. Electoral Tribunal: Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET)—composed of three (3) Supreme Court Justices and six (6) Senators—to act as sole judge of all contest relating to election returns and qualifications of their respective members. Removal: Thru EXPULSION by the Senate with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of all its members (Section 16, par. 3, Article VI)

House of Representatives
Term of office: three (3) years, which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon of June 30 next following their election. Canvassing Board: COMELEC Electoral Tribunal: House of Representative Electoral Tribunal (HRET)—composed of nine (9) members: 3 Supreme Court Justices and six (6) members of the Congress–Section 17, Art. VI Removal: EXPULSION by the House with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of all its members (Sec. 16, par. 3, Art. VI)

Vacancies and Salaries
Vacancy—Section 9, Article VI—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 thuselected shall serve only for the unexpired term. Salaries—Section 10, Article VI—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

Inhibitions and Prohibitions
a. Incompatible office—may not hold office or employment in government during his term without forfeiting his seat; b. Forbidden office—may not be appointed to any office created or compensation thereof increased during the term for which he was elected. (Sec. 13, Article VI) c. Cannot appear as counsel before any court or before the Electoral Tribunals, quasi-judicial or other administrative bodies; d. Shall not, directly or indirectly, be financially interested in any contract with, franchise or special privilege granted by the government; e. Shall not intervene in any matter before any office in government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office (Sec. 14, Article VI)

Inhibitions and Prohibitions
CONFLICT OF INTEREST—all members of the Senate and the HOR shall, upon assumption of office, make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests. They shall notify the House concerned of a potential conflict of interest that may arise from the filing of a proposed legislation of which they are author. Incompatible Office—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. 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 is not absolute, what is not allowed is the simultaneous holding of that office and the seat in the Congress. Any legislator may hold another office or employment in the government provided he forfeits his position in the Congress. Forfeiture of the legislator’s seat, or cessation of his tenure, shall be automatic upon holding of the incompatible office

Inhibitions and Prohibitions
Forbidden Office—no Senator or member of the House of Representatives shall be appointed to any office, which may have been created, or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected. With this, even if the member of the Congress is willing to forfeit his seat therein, he may not be appointed to any office in the government that has been created or the emoluments thereof have been increased during his term. Such a position is forbidden office. The purpose is to prevent trafficking in public office. The provision does not apply to elective offices.

The appointment of the member of the 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.

Privileges
a. Freedom from arrest—while Congress is in session for offense punished by not more than 6 years imprisonment (Article 145, RPC; Sec. 11, Art. VI) b. Speech and Debate clause—not to be questioned nor held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in Congress or in any committee thereof. (Section 11, Article VI) (See discussion under Parliamentary Immunity)

Composition and Qualifications
They are exclusive under the principle of expressio unios est exclusio alterius, with the result that it is not competent for the Congress to provide by mere legislation for additional qualifications no matter how relevant they may be. (Justice Isagani Cruz, Philippine Political Law) In Marcos vs. COMELEC, 248 SCRA 300, the Court upheld the qualification of Imelda Marcos, despite her own declaration in her certificate of candidacy that she had resided in the district for only seven (7) months, because of the following: a. A minor follows the domicile of his parents; Tacloban became her domicile of origin by operation of law when her father brought their family to Leyte; b. Domicile of origin is lost only when there is actual removal or change of domicile, a bona fide intention of abandoning the former residence and establishing a new one, and acts which correspond with the purpose; in the absence of clear and positive proof of the concurrence of all these, the domicile of origin should be deemed to continue; c. The wife does not automatically gain the husband’s domicile because the term “residence” in Civil Law does not mean the same thing in Political Law; when Mrs. Marcos married Ferdinand Marcos in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new home, not a domicilium necessarium; d. Even assuming that she gained a new domicile after her marriage and acquired the right to choose a new one only after her husband died, her acts following her return to the country clearly indicate that she chose Tacloban, her domicile of origin, as her domicile of choice.

Composition and Qualifications
Coquilla vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 151914, July 31, 2002, the SC ruled that he petitioner had not been a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar, for at least one year prior to the May 14, 2001 elections. Although Oras was his domicile of origin, petitioner lost the same when he became a US citizen after enlisting in the US Navy. From then on, until November 10, 2000, when he re-acquired Philippine citizenship through repatriation, petitioner was an alien without any right to reside in the Philippines. In Caasi vs. COMELEC, it was held that the immigration to the US by virtue of the acquisition of a “green card” constitutes abandonment of domicile in the Philippines.

REPUBLIC ACT 7941— AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Nature of Party-List System 1. The party-list system is a social tool designed not only to give more law to the great masses of our people who have less in life, but also to enable them to become veritable lawmakers themselves, empowered to participate directly in the enactment of laws designed to benefit them. It intends to make the marginalized and the underrepresented not merely passive recipients of he State’s benevolence, but active participants in he mainstream of representative democracy. Thus, allowing all individuals and groups, including those which now dominate district elections, to have the same opportunity to participate in party-list elections would desecrate this lofty objective and mongrelize the social justice mechanisms into an atrocious veneer for traditional politics.

REPUBLIC ACT 7941— AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Nature of Party-List System
2. Crucial to the resolution of this case is the fundamental social justice principle that those who have less in life should have more in law. The party-list system is one such tool intended to benefit those who have less in life. It gives the great masses of our people genuine hope and genuine power. It is a message to the destitute and the prejudiced, and even those in the underground, that change is possible. It is an invitation for them to come out of their limbo and seize the opportunity. Clearly, therefore, the Court cannot accept the submissions xxx that the party-list system is, without any qualification, open to all. Such position does not only weaken the electoral chances of the marginalized and underrepresented; it also prejudices them. It would gut the substance of the party-list system. Instead of generating hope, it would create a mirage. Instead of enabling the marginalized, it would further weaken them and aggravate their marginalization. (Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 147589, June 26, 2001)

REPUBLIC ACT 7941— AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Inviolable parameters to determine the winners in Party-List election: 1. The Twenty Percent (20%) Allocation—the combined number of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent (20%) of the total membership of the House of Representative, including those elected under the party-list; 2. The Two Percent (2%) Threshold—only those garnering a minimum of 2% of the total valid votes cast for the party-list system are qualified to have a seat in the HOR; 3. The Three (3) Seat Limit—each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a maximum of 3 seats; that is, one (1) qualifying and two (2) additional seats. 4. The Proportional Representation—the additional seats which a qualified party is entitled to shall be computed “in proportion to their total number of votes”. (Veterans Federation Party vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 136781, October 6, 2000)

REPUBLIC ACT 7941— AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Guidelines for Screening Party-List Participants 1. The political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. In other words—it must show in its constitution, by-laws, articles of incorporation, history, platform of government and track record—that it represents and seeks to uplift marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Verily, majority of its membership should belong to the marginalized and underrepresented. And it must demonstrate that in a conflict of interest, it has chosen or likely to choose the interest of such sectors. 2. They must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling “Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors x x x to be elected to the House of Representatives.” In other words, while they are not disqualified merely on the ground that they are political parties, they must show, however, that they represent the interests of the marginalized and underrepresented.

REPUBLIC ACT 7941— AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Guidelines for Screening Party-List Participants 3. In view of the objections directed against the registration of Ang Buhay Hayaang Yumabong, which is allegedly a religious group, the Court notes the express constitutional provision that the religious sector may not be represented in the party-list system. The prohibition is on any religious organization registering aspolitical party not against a priest running as a candidate. 4. A party or organization must not be disqualified under section 6 of RA 7941 which enumerates the grounds for disqualification. 5. The party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by the government. The party or organization must be a group of citizens, organized by citizens and operated by citizens. It must be independent of the government.

REPUBLIC ACT 7941— AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Guidelines for Screening Party-List Participants

6. The party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its nominees must likewise do so; 7. Not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees; and 8. The nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. (Ang Bagong Bayani—OFW Labor Party vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 147589, June 26, 2001)

REPUBLIC ACT 7941— AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Choosing Party-List Representatives—they are proclaimed by the COMELEC based on the list of names submitted by the respective parties, organizations or coalitions to the COMELEC according to their ranking in the list. Effect of change of affiliation— Any elected party-list representative who changes his political party or sectoral affiliation during his term of office shall forfeit his seat; provided that if he changes his political party or sectoral affiliation within 6 months before an election, he shall not be eligible for nomination as party-list representative under his new party or organization. Vacancy: In case of vacancy in the seat reserved for party-list representatives, the vacancy shall be automatically filled by the next representative from the list of nominees in the order submitted to the COMELEC by the same party, organization or coalition, who shall serve for the unexpired term. If the list is exhausted, the party, organization or coalition concerned shall submit additional nominees.

REPUBLIC ACT 7941— AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR
Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 172103, April 13, 2007, the correct formula in ascertaining the entitlement to additional seats of the first party and other qualified party-list groups was clearly explicated in Veterans wherein the multiplier used was the “number of additional seats allocated to the first party.” LABO DOCTRINE—doctrine of the rejection of the second placer—not applicable in Party-List System Apportionment of legislative Districts: (Section 5, paragraphs 3 and 4, Article VI) 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 (250,000), or each province, shall have at least one representative. This is intended to prevent gerrymandering. Gerrymandering—the creation of representative districts out of separate portions of territory in order to favor a candidate. Within three (3) years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section.

Sessions (Section 14, Article VI)
1. Regular—convene once every year. The 4th Monday of July until 30 days before the start of new regular session (Section 14, Article VI)—adjournment is allowed —30 days before the opening of its next regular session—this is compulsory; 2. Special— a. Called by the President (Sec. 15, Article VI)—the President has the power to call special session; without the call of President—impeachment b. Due to a vacancy in the offices of the President and VP at 10:00 am on the 3rd day after the vacancies (Sec. 10, Article VII) c. Decide on the disability of the President because the majority of all the members of the Cabinet has disputed his assertion that he is able to discharge the powers and duties of his office (Section 11, par. 3, Article VII) d. To revoke or extend the Presidential Proclamation of Martial Law or suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus (Section 18, article VII) 3. Joint— a. Voting separately— i. Choosing the President (Section 4, Article VII); ii. Determine the President’s disability (Section 11, Article VII); iii. Confirming nomination of Vice-President (Section 9, Article VI); Iv. Declaring existence of state of war (Section 23, Article VI); and v. Proposing constitutional amendments (Section 1, Article XVII). b. Voting jointly— i. To revoke or extend proclamation suspending the privilege of writ of habeas corpus (Section 18, Article VII); and ii. To revoke or extend declaration of martial law (Section 18, Article VII).

Sessions (Section 14, Article VI)
4. Adjournment—Neither Chamber during session, without consent of the other, adjourn for more than 3 days, nor any other place than that in which the two Chambers shall be sitting (Section 16, par. 5, Article VI) Adjournment Sine Die—the interval between the session of one Congress and that of another; congress must “stop the clock” at midnight of the last day of session in order tovalidly pass a law The Senate is a continuing body while the House is not.

Discipline of Members (Sec.16 par. 3)
Each house may punish its members for disorderly behavior and, with concurrence of 2/3 of all its members, suspend (for not more than 60 days) or expel a member. The interpretation of disorderly behavior—is the prerogative of the House concerned and cannot be judicially reviewed. In Osmeña vs. Pendatun, 109 Phil 863, the determination of the acts which constitutes disorderly behavior is within the full discretionary authority of the House concerned, and the Court will not review such determination, the same being a political question. Members of Congress may also be suspended by the Sandiganbayan or by the Office of the Ombudsman. (Paredes vs. SAndiganbayan, G. R. No. 118364, August 10, 1995; Santiago vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 128055, April 18, 2001)

Discipline of Members (Sec.16 par. 3)
The suspension in the Constitution is different from the suspension prescribed in RA 3019, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The latter is not a penalty but a preliminary preventive measure and is not imposed upon the petitioner for misbehavior as a member of Congress. (Paredes vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 118364, August 10, 1995)

In Miriam Defensor-Santiago vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 128055, April 18, 2001, Section 13 of RA 3019 (where it appears to be a ministerial duty of the court to issue the order of suspension upon a determination of the validity of the criminal information filed before it) does not state that the public officer should be suspended only in the office where he is alleged to have committed the acts charged. Furthermore, the order of suspension provided in RA 3019 is distinct from the power of Congress to discipline its own ranks. Neither does the order of suspension encroach upon the power of Congress. The doctrine of separation of powers, by itself, is not deemed to have effectively excluded the members of Congress from RA 3019 or its sanctions.

Parliamentary Immunity
A Senator or member of the HOR shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than 6 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 the Congress or in any other committee thereof.

Parliamentary Immunity
Two (2) Kinds: a. Freedom from arrest or detention—while Congress is in session for offense punished by not more than 6 years imprisonment (Article 145, RPC; Sec. 11, Art. VI)—it is intended to ensure representation of the constituents of the member of the Congress by preventing attempts to keep him from attending its sessions. The present Constitution adheres to the restrictive rule minus the obligation of Congress to surrender the Member of the House of Representatives to the custody of law. The requirement that he should be attending sessions or committee meetings has also been removed. For relatively minor offenses, it is enough that Congress is in session. (People vs. Jalosjos, 324 SCRA 689, February 20, 2000) “in session”—not day to day; refers to the entire duration of the session from its opening until its adjournment. b. Speech and Debate clause—not to be questioned nor held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in Congress or in any committee thereof. (Section 11, Article VI)—it enables the legislator to express views bearing upon the public interest without fear of accountability outside the halls of the legislature for his inability to support his statements with the usual evidence required in the court of justice. “in any other place”—but not in the Senate or Congress itself Section 16, par. 3, Article VI—Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of 2/3 of all its members, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed 60 days.

Parliamentary Immunity
People vs. Jalosjos, 324 SCRA 689, the immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and Members of the HOR arises from a provision of the Constitution. The history of the provision shows that the privilege has always been granted in a restrictive sense. The provision granting an exemption as a special privilege cannot be extended beyond the ordinary meaning of its term. It may not be extended by intendment, implication or equitable considerations. x x x

Because of the broad coverage of felony and breach of the peace, the exemption applied only to civil arrests. A congressman like the accused-appellant, convicted under Title 11 of the Revised Penal Code could not claim parliament immunity from arrest. He was subject to the same general laws governing all persons still to be tried or whose convictions were pending appeal.
The present Constitution adheres to the same restrictive rule minus the obligation of Congress to surrender the subject Congressman to the custody of law. The requirement that he should be attending sessions or committee meetings has also been removed. For relatively minor offenses, it is enough that Congress is in session.

Parliamentary Immunity
(People vs. Jalosjos, 324 SCRA 689) Accused-appellant argues that a member of Congress’ function to attend sessions is underscored by Section 16 (2), Article VI of the Constitution which states that— (2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner, and under such penalties, as such House may provide. However, the accused-appellant has not given any reason why he should be exempted from the operation of Section 11, Article VI. The members of Congress cannot compel absent members to attend sessions if the reason for absence is legitimate a one. The confinement of a Congressman charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than 6 years is not merely authorized by law, it has constitutional foundations. When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they did so with full awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action. They did so with the knowledge that he could achieve only such legislative results which he could accomplish within the confines of prison. To give a more drastic illustration, if voters elect a person with full knowledge that he is suffering from a terminal illness, they do so knowing that any time, he may no longer serve his full term in office.

Executive Privilege
It is the power of the government to withhold information from the public, the courts, and the Congress. (Schwartz) It is also the right of the President and high-level executive branch officers to withhold information from Congress, the courts, and ultimately the public. (Rozell)

1. State secret privilege—invoked by Presidents on the ground that the information is of such nature that its disclosure would subvert crucial military or diplomatic objective. 2. Informer’s privilege—privilege of the government not to disclose the identity of persons who furnish information in violations of law to officers charged with the enforcement of the law. 3. Generic privilege—for internal deliberations has been said to attach to intragovernmental documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated.
In determining the validity of a claim of privilege, the question that must be asked is not only whether the requested information falls within one of the traditional privileges, but also whether that privilege should be honored in a given procedural setting.

Protocol Cloture
PROTOCOL DE CLOTURE—a final act; an instrument which records the winding up of the proceedings of a diplomatic conference and usually includes a reproduction of the text of treaties, conventions, recommendations and other acts agreed upon and signed by the plenipotentiaries attending the conference. It is not the treaty itself. It is rather a summary of the proceedings of a protracted conference which may have taken place over several years. It will not require the concurrence of the Senate. The documents contained therein are deemed adopted without need for ratification. (Tañada vs. Angara, 272 SCRA 18, 1997)

Commission on Appointments (Section 18)
The Commission is independent of the two Houses of Congress; its employees are not, technically, employees of Congress. It has the power to promulgate its own rules of proceedings. Powers: Act on all appointments submitted to it within 30 session days of Congress from their submission; to act on Presidential appointments; has power to promulgate its own rules of proceedings. Composition: • Senate President—acts as Ex-Officio Chairman • 12 Senators and 12 Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each house on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. Chairman shall not vote except in case of a tie. In Guingona vs. Gonzales, 214 SCRA 789, a political party must have at least two (2) elected senators for every seat in the Commission on Appointments. Thus, where there are two or more political parties represented in the Senate, a political party/coalition with a single senator in the Senate cannot constitutionally claim a seat in the Commission on Appointments. It is not mandatory to elect 12 senators to the Commission; what the Constitution requires is that there must be at least a majority of the entire membership.

Powers of Congress
Classification: 1. LEGISLATIVE—
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • General plenary power; Specific power of appropriation; Taxation and expropriation; Legislative investigations (Section 21, Art. VI); and Question hour (Section 22, Art. VI). Canvass presidential election (Section 4, Art. VII); Declare the existence of state of war (Section 23, par.1, Art. VI); Exercise delegation of emergency powers; Call special election for President and VP (Section 10, Art. VII); Give concurrence to treaties and amnesties (Sections 19 and 21, Art. VII); Propose constitutional amendments (constituent power) (Sections 1-2, Art. XVII); Confirm certain appointments (Section 9 and 16, Art. VII); Impeach (Section 2, Art. XI); Decide the disability of President because majority of the Cabinet disputes his assertion that he is able to discharge his duties (Section 11, Art. VII); Revoke or extend proclamation of suspension of privilege of writ of habeas corpus or declaration of martial law (Section 18, Art. VII); Set the rules regarding the utilization of natural resources (Section 2, Art. XII).

2. NON-LEGISLATIVE—includes power to:

Powers of Congress
Limitations on the Powers of Congress: 1. SUBSTANTIVE— a. Express: i. Bill of Rights (Article III); ii. On Appropriations (Sections 25 and 29 paragraphs 1 and 2, Article VI); iii. On taxation (Sections 28 and 29, paragraph 3, Article VI); iv. On Constitutional appellate jurisdiction of SC (Section 30, Article VI); v. No law granting title of royalty or nobility shall be passed (Section 31, Article VI); vi. No specific funds shall be appropriated or paid for use or benefit of any religion, sect, etc., except for priests, etc., assigned to AFP, penal institutions, etc. (Sections 29, paragraph 2, Article VI). b. Implied: i. Prohibition against irrepealable laws; ii. Non-delegation of powers.

Powers of Congress
Limitations on the Powers of Congress: 2. PROCEDURAL— a. Only one subject, to be stated in the title of the bill (Sec. 26, par. 1, Article VI); b. Three (3) readings on separate days; printed copies of the bill in its final form distributed to members 3 days before its passage, except if President certifies to its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency; upon its last reading, no amendment allowed and the vote thereon taken immediately and the yeas and nays entered into the Journal (Section 26, paragraph 2, Article VI; c. Appropriation, revenue and tariff bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives.

How a bill becomes a law?
1. Approved and signed by the President; 2. Presidential veto overridden by 2/3 votes of all the members of both Houses; 3. Failure of the President to veto the bill and to return it with his objections to the House where it originated, within 30 days after the date of receipt; 4. A bill calling a special election for President and VicePresident under Section 10, Article VII becomes a law upon third and final reading.

Bills exclusively originated in the House of Representative: (APRIL)
1. Appropriation bills; 2. Private bills;

3. Revenue or tariff bills;
4. Bills authorizing Increase in public debts; and

5. Bills of Local application.

Bills exclusively originated in the House of Representative: (APRIL)
1. Appropriation bills; 2. Private bills; 3. Revenue or tariff bills; 4. Bills authorizing Increase in public debts; and 5. Bills of Local application.
However, although these bills are required to originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, the Senate may propose or concur with amendments (Sec. 24, Art. VI). Amendments may include amendments by substitution. (Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance) What is required to originate exclusively in the House of Representatives is the bill, not the law itself. (Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance) If the nays prevail, then it is about time that a new bicameral committee be created until the bill will be accepted by both houses. (Bill is not killed.) If yeas prevail, the bill is signed by the Executive Secretary.

Two (2) Rules to be observed— Section 26, Article VI:
1. One (1) subject, One (1) Title Rule—to prevent RIDERS— totally unrelated matters

2. Three (3) Readings on Separate Days
Except: when the President certifies to the necessity of the immediate enactment of the bill to meet the public calamity and emergency Political question—not subject to judicial review

Section 26 (par. 1), Article VI
“Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof.” The objectives of the above provision are: 1. To prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation; 2. To prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature by means of provisions in bills of which the titles gave no information, and which might therefore be overlooked and carelessly and unintentionally adopted; and 3. To fairly appraise the people, through such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually made, of the subjects of legislation that are being considered, in order that they may have opportunity of being heard thereon by petition or otherwise if they shall so desire. Literal interpretation—the subject or title need not be an index or catalogue. It must be germane and related to the subject matter.

Section 26 (par. 2), Article VI
No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency.

Enrolled Bill Doctrine
It is one duly introduced and finally passed by both houses, authenticated by the proper officer of each, and approved by the President. It is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure passed by Congress and approved by the President. Once the bill becomes an enrolled bill, it is conclusive upon the court of its due enactment. Courts may no longer validly inquire into the bill because of the doctrine of separation of powers.

Casco (Phil) Chemical Co. vs. Gimenez, 7 SCRA 347, if a mistake was made in the printing of the bill before it was certified by Congress and approved by the President, the remedy is amendment or corrective legislation, not a judicial decree.

Enrolled Bill Doctrine
The enrolled bill rule rests on the following considerations: x x x As the President has no authority to approve a bill no passed by Congress, an enrolled act in the custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of the United States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and executive departments of the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of enacting and executing the laws, that it was passed by the Congress. the respect due to co-equal and independent departments requires the judicial department to act upon the assurance, and to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the manner stated; leaving the court to determine, when the question properly arises, whether the Act, so authenticated, is in conformity with the Constitution. (Marshall Field & Co. vs. Clark, 143 US 649)

Bicameral Conference Committee
the mechanism for compromising differences between the Senate and the House— capable of producing unexpected result—bill will have to be sent back to both houses and subject to votation.

A conference committee may deal generally with the subject matter or it may be limited to resolving the precise differences between the two houses. Even where the conference committee is not by rule limited in its jurisdiction, legislative custom severely limits the freedom with which new subject matter can be inserted in to the conference bill. But occasionally it produces unexpected results, results beyond its mandate. These excursions occurs even where the rules impose strict limitations on conference committee jurisdiction. This is symptomatic of an authoritarian power of conference committee. (Philippine Judges Association vs. Prado, 227 SCRA 703, November 11, 1993)

Doctrine of Shifting Majority
For each house to pass a bill, only the votes of the majority of those present in the session, there being a quorum, is required. Quorum—A majority of each House, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as such house may determine. Avelino vs. Cuenco, 83 Phil 17, the basis in determining the existence of a quorum in the Senate shall be the total number of Senators who are in the country and within the coercive jurisdiction of the Senate. Arroyo vs. De Venecia, G.R. No. 127255, June 26, 1998, the SC declared that the question of quorum cannot be raised repeatedly, especially when a quorum is obviously present for the purpose of delaying the business of the House.

Legislative Journal
Regarded as conclusive with respect to matters that are required by the Constitution to be recorded therein. With respect to other matters, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the journals have also been accorded conclusive effects. Thus, in US vs. Pons, this Court spoke of the imperatives of public policy for regarding the Journals as “public memorials of the most permanent character,” thus: “They should be public, because all are required to conform to them; they should be permanent, that rights acquired today upon the faith of what has been declared to be law shall not be destroyed tomorrow, or at some remote period of time, by facts resting only in memory of individuals. (Arroyo vs. De Venecia, 277 SCRA 268) Matters that are required to be entered on the Journal: 1. The yeas and nays on the 3rd and final reading of a bill; 2. The yeas and nays on any question, at the request of 1/5 of the members present; 3. The yeas and nays upon re-passing a bill over the President’s veto; and 4. The President’s objection to a bill he had vetoed. (Arroyo vs. De Venecia, 277 SCRA 268) Journal entry vs. enrolled bill— Enrolled bill prevails, except to matters, which under the Constitution, must entered into the Journal. (Morales vs. Subido, 26 SCRA 150)

President’s Options
1. Sign and the bill becomes a law. 2. Vetoes the bill, it does not become a law. - 2/3 votes of all its Members (for Congress to override) 3. Inaction—the bill automatically becomes a law within 30 days upon receipt of the bill from Congress. There is no such thing as “pocket veto” here in the Philippines because inaction by the President for 30 days never produces a veto even if Congress is in recess. The President must still act to veto the bill and communicate his veto to the Congress without need of returning the vetoed bill with his veto message. Pocket veto occurs when: a. The President fails to act on the bill; b. The reason he does not return the bill to the Congress is that Congress is not in session.

Presidential Veto
VETO—Section 27, Article VI 1. General veto of the President—paragraph 1 of Section 27, Article VI 2. Item/Line veto of the President—paragraph 2 of Section 27, Article VI The act of the Executive in vetoing the particular provisions is an exercise of a constitutionally vested power. But even as the Constitution grants the power, it also provides limitations to its exercise. The veto power is not absolute. x x x The OSG is correct when it states that the Executive must veto a bill in its entirety or not at all. He or she cannot act like an editor crossing out specific lines, provisions, or paragraphs in a bill that he or she dislikes. In the exercise of the veto power, it is generally veto, however, when it comes to appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, the Administration needs the money to run the machinery of the government and it can not veto the entire bill even if it may contain objectionable features. The President is, therefore, compelled to approve into law the entire bill, including its undesirable parts. It is for this reason that the Constitution has wisely provided the “item veto power” to avoid inexpedient riders being attached to an indispensable appropriation or revenue measures. The Constitution provides that only a particular item or items may be vetoed. The power to disapprove any item or items in an appropriation bill does not grant the authority to veto a part of an item and to approve the remaining portion of the same item. (Bengzon vs. Drilon, 208 SCRA 133, April 15, 1992)

Presidential Veto
General rule: Selective/partial veto is not allowed. The President may not veto a provision of the bill without vetoing the whole/entire bill itself. Exception: Paragraph 2 of Section 27, Article VI --- Item/Line veto Only Appropriation, Revenue and Tariff Bills ---- selective veto is allowed here provided the vetoed bill shall not affect the items which was not vetoed.

Item - Refers to the particulars, the details, the distinct and severable parts of the bill. It is an indivisible sum of money dedicated to a stated purpose.

Presidential Veto
Exceptions to the Exception: 1. DOCTRINE OF INAPPROPRIATE PROVISION—Section 25 (2), Article VI A provision that is constitutionally inappropriate for an appropriation bill may be singled out for veto even if it is not an appropriation or revenue item. It was invoked in the case of Gonzalez vs. Macaraig wherein President Aquino vetoed a provision of the general appropriation bill. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the veto power of the President. Section 25 (2), Article VI—No provision or enactment shall be embraced in the general appropriation bill unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriation therein.—Items which the President does not object, otherwise it becomes an inappropriate provision—it may be treated as an item—subject to the item veto of the President.

Presidential Veto
Exceptions to the Exception: 2. Executive Impoundment—refusal of the President to spend funds already allocated by Congress for specific purpose. It is the failure to spend or obligate budget authority of any type. This power is derived from Section 38 of the Administrative Code of 1987 on suspension.

Appropriation Reserves— Section 37 of the Administrative Code authorizes the Budget Secretary to establish reserves against appropriations to provide for contingencies and emergencies which may arise during the year. This is merely expenditure deferral, not suspension, since the agencies concerned can still draw on the reserves if the fiscal outlook improves.

Presidential Veto
Exceptions to the Exception: 3. Legislative Veto—a congressional veto is a means whereby the legislature can block or modify administrative action taken under a statute. It is a form of legislative control in the implementation of particular executive action. The form may either be:

a. Negative—subjecting the executive action to disapproval by Congress; or b. Affirmative—requiring approval of the executive action by Congress.
A congressional veto is subject to serious questions involving the separation of powers. Local Chief Executives have veto power except the Punong Barangay

Power of Appropriation
The spending power, called the “power of purse” belongs to the Congress, subject only to the veto power of the President. it carries with it a power to specify the project or activity to be funded under the appropriation law. Appropriations Law—A statute, the primary and specific purpose of which is to authorize release of public funds from the treasury.

The existence of appropriations and the availability of funds are indispensable pre-requisites to or conditions sine qua non for the execution of government contracts. (COMELEC vs. Judge Quijano Padilla and Photokina Marketing Corp., G.R. No. 151992, September 18, 2000)

Power of Appropriation
Classification: 1. General Appropriation Law—passed annually, intended to provide for the financial operations of the entire government during one fiscal period. 2. Special Appropriation Law—designed for a specific purpose. Implied (Extra-Constitutional) Limitations on Appropriation Power: 1. Must specify public purpose; and 2. Sum authorized for release must be determinate, or at least determinable. Constitutional Limitations on Special Appropriation Measures: 1. Must specify public purpose for which the sum was intended; and 2. Must be supported by funds actually available as certified by the National Treasurer or to be raised by corresponding revenue proposal included therein.

Power of Appropriation
Constitutional Rules on General Appropriation Laws: Section 25, Article VI 1. Congress may not increase appropriations recommended by the President for operation of the Government—to prevent big budget deficits; 2. Form, content and manner of preparation of budget shall be provided by law; 3. No provision or enactment shall be embraced unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriations therein; 4. Procedure for approving appropriations for Congress shall be the same as that of other departments—to prevent sub rosa appropriations by Congress; 5. Prohibition against transfer of appropriations (Doctrine of Augmentation), however: a. President; b. Senate President; c. Speaker of the House; d. Chief Justice; and e. Heads of Constitutional Commissions— may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations. 6. Prohibition against appropriations for sectarian benefit; and 7. Automatic re-appropriation.

Power of Taxation
Limitations: 1. Rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable and Congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation. 2. Charitable institutions, etc., and all lands, buildings and improvements actually, directly and exclusively used for religious, charitable or educational purposes shall be exempt from taxation. 3. All revenues and assets of non-stock, non-profit educational institutions used actually, directly and exclusively for educational purposes shall be exempt from taxes and duties. 4. Law granting tax exemption shall be passed only with the concurrence of a majority of all the members of Congress.

ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL Section 17, Article V
Senate and House of Representatives—sole judge of all contest relating to the election returns and qualifications of their respective Members
No appeal lies. Appeal is merely statutory. The remedy is Rule 65, Certiorari (Special Civil Action) based on Grave Abuse of Discretion.

ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL Section 17, Article V
HRET—although attached to the Congress, has separate and distinct personality. It was created as a non-partisan court. It must be independent of Congress and devoid of partisan influence and consideration. Members of HRET, once appointed thereto, they shall be accorded thereto of security of tenure to ensure their impartiality and independence.
Bondoc vs. Pineda, 201 SCRA 792, “Disloyalty to the party” and “Breach of party discipline” are not valid grounds for the expulsion of a member. HRET members enjoy security of tenure; their membership may not be terminated except for a just cause such as the expiration of congressional term, death, resignation from the political party, formal affiliation with another political party, or removal for other valid causes

Pimentel vs. HRET, G.R. No. 141489, November 29, 2002, the SC said that even assuming that the party-list representatives comprise a sufficient number and have agreed to designate common nominees to the HRET and Commission on Appointments, their primary recourse clearly rests with the House of Representatives and not with the Court. Only if the House fails to comply with the directive of the Constitution on proportional representation of political parties in the HRET and Commission on Appointments can the party-list representatives seek recourse from this Court through judicial review. Under the doctrine of primary administrative jurisdiction, prior recourse to the House is necessary before the petitioners may bring the case to Court.

ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL Section 17, Article V
Imelda Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC, 248 SCRA 300—As to the HRET’s supposed assumption of jurisdiction over the issue of petitioner’s qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections, suffice it to say that HRET’s jurisdiction as the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of Congress begins only after a candidate has become a member of the House of Representatives (Article VI, Section 17 1987 Constitution). Petitioner not being a member of the House of Representatives, it is obvious that HRET at this point has no jurisdiction over the question. COMELEC is not ousted of jurisdiction. See also Section 6 of RA 6646.
Guerrero vs. COMELEC, 336 SCRA 458 (July 26, 2000)— While the Congress is vested with the power to declare valid or invalid certificate of candidacy, its refusal to exercise the power following the proclamation and assumption of Fariñas is a recognition of the jurisdictional boundaries separating the COMELEC and the HRET. Under Article VI, Section 17 of the Constitution, the HRET has the sole and exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relative to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of the House of Representatives. Thus, once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a member of the HOR, COMELEC’s jurisdiction over election contests relating to his elections, returns and qualifications ends, and the HRET’s own jurisdiction begins. Thus, the COMELEC’s decision to discontinue exercising jurisdiction over the case is justifiable, in deference to the HRET’s own jurisdiction and functions.

ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL Section 17, Article V
Appeal from SET or HRET Decision The Constitution mandates that the HRET and the SET shall each, respectively, be the sole judge of all contest relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of their respective members. The Court has stressed that so long as the Constitution grants the HRET the power to be the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of the House of Representatives, any final action taken by the HRET on a matter within its jurisdiction shall, as a rule, not be reviewed by the Supreme Court. The power granted to the Electoral Tribunal excludes the exercise of any authority on the part of this Court that would in any wise restricts it or curtail it or even affect the same. In Robles vs. HRET, the Court has explained that while the judgments of the Tribunal are beyond judicial interference, the Court may do so, however, but only “in the exercise of the SC’s so-called extraordinary jurisdiction upon determination that the Tribunal’s decision or resolution was rendered without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, or upon a clear showing of such arbitrary and improvident use by the Tribunal of its power as constitutes a denial of due process of law, or upon demonstration of a very clear unmitigated error, manifestly constituting such grave abuse of discretion that there has to be remedy for such abuse. The Court does not venture into the perilous area of correcting perceived errors of independent branches of government; it comes in only when it has to vindicate a denial of due process or correct an abuse of discretion so grave or glaring that no less than the Constitution itself calls for remedial action. (Libanan vs. HRET, 283 SCRA 520)

ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL Section 17, Article V
Section 21, Article VI—The Senate or the HOR or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules and procedure. The right of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected. Constitutional limitation on inquiries in aid of legislation

Power of Legislative Investigation (Section 21, Article VI)
Power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation—Investigatorial Power—not absolute; subject judicial review in view of the expanded power of the court to determine whether there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Limitations: 1. The inquiry must be in aid of legislation; 2. It must be in accordance with duly published rules and procedure of the House concerned; and 3. The right of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected. Remedy: invoke the Right against Self-Incrimination

Power of Legislative Investigation (Section 21, Article VI)
Section 21 (Legislative investigation) vs. Section 22(Question Hour) 1. Inquiry in aid of legislation—they may not validly refuse to appear: • It will impair the work of Congress • It will violate the rights of the people to information on matters of public concern (Section 7, Article III) 2. Members of the executive cabinet in view of EO 464 These two (2) sections should not be considered as pertaining to the same power of Congress. One specifically relates to the power to conduct inquiry in aid of legislation, the aim of which is to elicit information that may be used for legislation, while the other pertains to the power to conduct a question hour, the objective of which is to obtain information in pursuit of Congress’ oversight function.

Section 21 (Legislative investigation) 1. Any person may appear 2. The Committees conduct the investigation 3. The subject matter is any matter for the purpose of legislation 4. Appearance is mandatory

Section 22 (Question Hour) 1. Only department head may appear 2. The entire body conduct the investigation 3. The subject matters are matters related to the department only 4. Appearance is Discretionary

Power of Legislative Investigation (Section 21, Article VI)
Senate vs. Ermita, G.R. No., 169777, April 20, 2006, while attendance to Congressional hearings is discretionary on the part of the department heads during “question hour,” such is not in the case in inquiries in aid of legislation, except upon a valid and express claim of “executive privilege.”

The principle of separation of powers is the reason why executive officials may not be compelled to attend hearings when Congress exercises its oversight functions. Though, this is not the case when the Congress exercises its power of inquiry in aid of legislation. Sections 21 and 22 of Article VI, therefore, while closely related and complementary to each other, should not be considered as pertaining to the same power of Congress. one specifically relates to the power to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation, the aim of which is to elicit information that may be used for legislation, while the other pertains to the power to conduct a question hour, the object of which is to obtain information in pursuit of Congress’ oversight function.
Sabio vs. Sen. Gordon, G.R. No. 174340, October 17, 2006, the Congress’ power of inquiry, being broad, encompasses everything that concerns the administration of existing laws as well as proposed or possibly needed statutes. It even extends to government agencies created by Congress and officers whose positions are within the power of Congress to regulate or even abolish. A mere provision of law cannot pose a limitation to the broad power of Congress, in the absence of any constitutional basis.

Question Hour
Integral in a parliamentary government; the heads of departments may, upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President, or upon the request of either house, as the rules of each house shall provide, appear before and be heard by such house on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House at least 3 days before their scheduled appearance. Interpolations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related thereto. When the scrutiny of the State or the public interest so requires, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session Arnault vs. Nazareno, 87 Phil. 29—the inquiry, to be within the jurisdiction of the legislative body making it, must be material or necessary to the exercise of a power in it vested by the Constitution, such as to legislate or to expel a member. (The power to conduct Inquiry is integral and implied of legislative power) Standard Chartered Bank vs. Senate Committee on Banks, G.R. No. 167173, December 27, 2007, the mere filing of a criminal or an administrative complaint before a court or a quasi-judicial body should not automatically bar the conduct of legislative investigation. Otherwise, it would be extremely easy to subvert any intended inquiry by Congress through the convenient ploy of instituting a criminal or administrative complaint.

Congressional Oversight Functions
(Makalintal vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 157013, July 10, 2003) It embraces all activities undertaken by Congress to enhance its understanding of and influence over the implementation of legislation it has enacted. Clearly, oversight concerns postenactment measures undertaken by Congress: a. To monitor bureaucratic compliance with program objectives; b. To determine whether agencies are properly administered; c. To eliminate executive waste and dishonesty; d. To prevent executive usurpation of authority; and e. To assess executive conformity with the congressional perception of public interest.

The power of oversight has been held to be intrinsic in the grant of legislative power itself and integral to the checks and balances inherent in a democratic system of government.
The oversight power has also been used to ensure the accountability of regulatory commissions like the SEC. Unlike other ordinary administrative agencies, these bodies are independent from the executive branch and are outside the executive department in the discharge of their functions.

Congressional Oversight Functions
Categories of Congressional Oversight Functions: a. Scrutiny—implies a lesser intensity and continuity of attention to administrative operations. Its primary purpose is to determine economy and efficiency of the operation of government activities. In the exercise of legislative scrutiny, Congress may request information and report from the other branches of government. It can give recommendations or pass resolutions for consideration of the agency involved.

It is based primarily on the power of appropriation of Congress. xxx But legislative scrutiny does not end in budget hearings. Congress can ask the heads of departments to appear before and be heard by either the House of Congress on any matter pertaining to their department. Likewise, Congress exercises legislative scrutiny thru its power of confirmation to find out whether the nominee possesses the necessary qualifications, integrity and probity required of all public servants.
b. Congressional investigation—involves a more intense digging of facts. It is recognized under Section 21, Article VI. Even in the absence of constitutional mandate, it has been held to be an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative functions. c. Legislative supervision—it connotes a continuing and informed awareness on the part of congressional committee regarding executive operations in a given administrative area. It allows Congress to scrutinize the exercise of delegated law-making authority, and permits Congress to retain part of that delegated authority.

Congressional Oversight Functions
Congress exercises supervision over the executive agencies through its veto power. It typically utilizes veto provisions when granting the President or an executive agency the power to promulgate regulations with the force of law. These provisions require the President or an agency to present the proposed regulations to Congress, which retains a “right” to approve or disapprove any regulation before it takes effect. Such legislative veto provisions usually provide that a proposed regulation will become a law after the expiration of a certain period of time, only if Congress does not affirmatively disapprove of the regulation in the meantime. Less frequently, the statute provides that a proposed regulation will become a law if Congress affirmatively approves it.

Power of Concurrence
The Constitution requires the concurrence of the Congress to an amnesty and to a treaty.

The War Power
The Congress, by a vote of 2/3 of both houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.

Lawmaking Powers of the Congress
Pertinently, the power to make laws—legislative power—is vested in Congress. Congress may not escape its duties and responsibilities by delegating that power to any other body or authority. Any attempt to abdicate the power is unconstitutional and void, on the principle of delegari potesta non potest delegari—delegated power may not be delegated. The rule which forbids the delegation of legislative power, however, is not absolute and inflexible. It admits of exceptions. An exception sanctioned by immemorial practice permits the legislative body to delegate its licensing power to certain persons, municipal corporations, towns, boards, councils, commissions, commissioners, auditors, bureaus and directors. Such licensing power includes the power to promulgate necessary rules and regulations. (Chavez vs. Romulo, G.R. No. 157036, June 9, 2004)

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful