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Composition of the Senate

Qualifications to Become Senators


Organization of the Senate
The Senate Proper
The Officers of the Senate
The Senate Committees
The Secretariat
The Senate Secretary
The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms

Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution provides:

The Senate shall be composed of twenty-four Senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified
voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law.

It is worthy to note that the composition of the Senate is smaller in number as compared to the
House of Representatives. The members of this chamber are elected at large by the entire electorate.
The rationale for this rule intends to make the Senate a training ground for national leaders and possibly
a springboard for the presidency. It follows also that the Senator, having a national rather than only a
district constituency, will have a broader outlook of the problems of the country, instead of being
restricted by narrow viewpoints and interests. With such perspective, the Senate is likely to be more
circumspect, or at least less impulsive, than the House of Representatives.

Qualifications to Become Senators

The qualifications for membership in the Senate are expressly stated in Section 3, Art. VI of the
Constitution as follows:

No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of
the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident
of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.

It is worthy to note that the age is fixed at 35 and must be possessed on the day of the elections,
that is, when the polls are opened and the votes cast, and not on the day of the proclamation of the
winners by the board of canvassers.

With regard to the residence requirement, it was ruled in the case of Lim v. Pelaez that it must be
the place where one habitually resides and to which he, after absence, has the intention of returning.

The enumeration laid down by the Constitution is exclusive under the Latin principle of expressio
unius est exclusio alterius. This means that Congress cannot anymore add additional qualifications other
than those provided by the Constitution.

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Organization of the Senate


Under the Constitution, Congress shall convene once every year on the fourth Monday of
July for its regular session.... During this time, the Senate is organized to elect its officers.
Specifically, the Constitution provides a definite statement, to wit:

The Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives its Speaker by a majority
vote of all its respective members.

Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.

xxx

(3) Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings ...

By virtue of these provisions of the Constitution, the Senate adopts its own rules, otherwise
known as the Rules of the Senate. The Rules of the Senate provide the following officers: a
President, a President Pro Tempore, a Secretary and a Sergeant-at-Arms.

Following this set of officers, the Senate as an institution can then be grouped into the Senate
Proper and the Secretariat. The former belongs exclusively to the members of the Senate as well
as its committees, while the latter renders support services to the members of the Senate.

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The Senate Proper

A. The Officers of the Senate

1. The Senate President

Widely regarded as the most powerful figure in the Senate, the Senate President is the
presiding officer of the Senate as well as the leader of the majority group. Under the
Constitution, the Senate President is regarded as third in line of succession, after the President
and Vice-President.

Under Section 3 of Rule III of the Rules of the Senate, the Senate President is the Chief
Executive of the Senate. His duties and powers are as follows:

(a) To preside over the sessions of the Senate on the days and at the hours designated by it; to
call the Senate to order and, if there is a quorum, to order the reading of the Journal of the
preceding session and, after the Senate shall have acted upon it, to dispose of the matters
appearing in the Order of Business in accordance with the Rules;

(b) To decide all points of order;


(c) To sign all measures, memorials, joint and concurrent resolutions; issue warrants, orders of
arrest, subpoena and subpoena duces tecum;

(d) To see to it that all resolutions of the Senate are complied with;

(e) To have general control over the session hall, the antechambers, corridors and offices of the
Senate;

(f) To maintain order in the session hall, the antechambers, corridors and in the offices of the
Senate, and whenever there is disorder, to take appropriate measures to quell it;

(g) To designate an Acting Sergeant-at-Arms, if the Sergeant-at-Arms resigns, is replaced or


becomes incapacitated;

(h) To appoint the subordinate personnel of the Senate in conformity with the provisions of the
General Appropriations Act;

(i) To dismiss any employee for cause, which dismissal in the case of permanent and classified
employees shall be in conformity with the Civil Service Law; and

(j) To diminish or increase the number of authorized personnel by consolidating or separating


positions or items whenever the General Appropriations Act so authorizes and the total amount
of salaries or allocations does not exceed the amount earmarked therein.

2. The Senate President Pro Tempore

Like the President of the Senate, the Senate President Pro Tempore is also elected by the
members of the Senate. In the U.S., by custom, he is the most senior member of the majority
party. Although it is not exclusively followed here, for sometime in the past Senates, senior
members of the majority party are often elected as Senate President Pro Tempore. Under Section
4 of Rule IV of the Rules of the Senate, the President Pro Tempore shall discharge the powers
and duties of the President in the following cases:

(a) When the President is absent for one or more days;

(b) When the President is temporarily incapacitated; and

(c) In the event of the resignation, removal, death or absolute incapacity of the President.

3. The Majority Leader

In the modern Senate, the second in command is the majority leader, whose primary
responsibility is to manage the legislative affairs of the chamber. While nothing in the Rules of
the Senate expressly states the powers of the Majority Leader, to a great extent, he is very
influential in the passage of bills. As the traditional Chairman of the Committee on Rules, the
Majority Leader helps formulate, promote, negotiate and defend the majoritys legislative
program, particularly on the floor.

4. The Minority Leader

The minority group chooses from among themselves the Minority Leader who is considered
as the titular head of the minority in the Senate and oftentimes called a shadow president.

In many past rigodons of the Senate or the so-called Senate coups, sometimes the minority
leader becomes the President and the ousted President becomes the minority leader.

The basic duties of the Minority Leader is that he becomes the spokesman for his party or
group or coalition and enunciates its policies. He is expected to be alert and vigilant in defense of
the minoritys rights. It is his function and duty to criticize constructively the policies and
programs of the majority, and to this end employ parliamentary tactics and give close attention to
all proposed legislation.

The Rules of the Senate gives the President Pro Tempore and the Majority and Minority
Leaders unique privileges as all are ex-officio members of all the permanent committees of the
Senate.

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B. The Senate Committees

At the core of Congress lawmaking, investigative and oversight functions lies the committee
system. This is so because much of the business of Congress, it has been well said, is done in the
committee. Specific problems, whether local or national in scope, are initially brought to the
forum of congressional committees where they are subjected to rigid and thorough discussions.

Congressional hearings and investigations on matters dealing with every field of legislative
concern have frequently been conducted by congressional committees.

To a large extent, therefore, the committee system plays a very significant role in the
legislative process. Congressional responses and actions vis-a-vis growing national problems and
concerns have considerably relied upon the efficiency and effectiveness of the committee
structure, system and expertise. As pointed out by Woodrow Wilson regarding the important
roles played by different committees of Congress:

The House sits, not for serious discussion, but to sanction the conclusions of the Committees
as rapidly as possible. It legislates in its committee rooms; not by the deliberation of majorities,
but by the resolutions of specially-commissioned minorities; so that it is not far from the truth to
say that Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, while Congress in its committee
rooms is Congress at work.
On the other hand, the merits of Polsbys view with regard to the importance of the
committee system can be well considered:

Any proposal that weakens the capabilities of congressional committees weakens Congress.
Congressional committees are the listening posts of Congress. They accumulate knowledge
about the performance of governmental agencies and about the effects of governmental programs
and performance on private citizens. They provide incentives to members of Congress to involve
themselves in the detailed understanding of governmental functioning. They provide a basis -
virtually the only well institutionalized basis in the House of Representatives - for understanding
and for influencing public policy.

The present committee system in the Senate has by far been the product of strong years of
Philippine legislative experience. It draws its strength from the inherent functions it is mandated
to perform, i.e., to assist the Congress in coming up with well studied legislative policy
enactments. Yet the complexity of problems that our country is currently facing and the growing
needs and demands of our people for a more assertive role on the part of Congress cannot but
require us to assess the effectiveness as well as the responsiveness of the congressional
committee structure and system. In order to survive and meet the challenges, Congress must
adjust to external demands and cope with internal stresses. It must be pointed out that social,
economic, and political developments generate demands that the legislature pass legislation or
take other action to meet constitutional and public expectations concerning the general welfare.
The continuing rise of unemployment, poverty, economic depression, scandals, crises and
calamities of various kinds, energy problem and accelerating technological innovations, all
intensify pressures upon Congress. Political or governmental shifts, aggressive presidential
leadership, partisan realignments, and momentous and controversial Supreme Court rulings,
among other things, also drive the congressional workload.

However, the effects of external demands create interpersonal stresses within Congress, and
in the Senate in particular. For instance, a ballooning workload (external demand) of some
committees has caused personal or committee scrambles for jurisdiction (internal stress). Other
tensions that may be considered range from the growth in the member-ship of various
committees, jurisdictional disputes among several committees, shifts in its personnel, factional
disputes and members shifting attitudes or norms. Such conflicts surface in recurrent debates
over pay, requisites, committee jurisdictions, rules scheduling, and budgetary procedures which
necessitate the call for an assessment of the present structure of the Senate Committee System.
The present committee structure of the Senate is composed of 36 standing committees and five
ad hoc and oversight committees. These standing committees with their respective jurisdictions
are as follows:

Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to, including investigation of, malfeasance, misfeasance and
nonfeasance in office by officers and employees of the government, its branches, agencies,
subdivisions and instrumentalities; implementation of the provision of the Constitution on
nepotism; and investigation of any matter of public interest on its own initiative or brought to its
attention by any member of the Senate.
Committee on Accounts

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to the auditing and adjustment of all accounts chargeable
against the funds for the expenses and activities of the Senate.

Committee on Agrarian Reform

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to agrarian reform, landed estates, and implementation of the
agrarian land reform provisions of the Constitution.

Committee on Agriculture and Food

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to agriculture, food production and agri-business, including
agricultural experimental stations, agricultural economics and research; soil survey and
conservation; agricultural education; technical extension services; animal husbandry; livestock
quarantine; agricultural support price; and fisheries and aquatic resources.

Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to banks, financial institutions, government and private
currencies, capital markets, mutual funds, securitization, coinage and circulation of money.

Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to the Civil Service and the status of officers and employees of
the government including their appointment, discipline, retirement; their compensation
privileges, benefits and incentives; implementation of the constitutional provisions on the rights
of government workers to form and join labor organizations; public sector labor-management
relations and collective negotiation agreements; reorganization of the government or any of its
branches, agencies, subdivisions or instrumentalities; all human resource development programs
pertaining to the government; and all other matters relating to the bureaucracy.

Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws

Jurisdiction: All matters proposing amendments to the Constitution of the Philippines and the
compilation and revision of existing codes and laws; election laws and implementation of
constitutional provisions on initiative and referendum on legislative acts; recall of elective
officials; the role and rights of peoples organizations; and sectoral or party-list representation.

Committee on Cooperatives

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to cooperatives, both urban and rural-based, including but not
limited to farm credit and farm security, cooperative movements, marketing and consumers
organizations; and the implementation of the Cooperative Code of the Philippines.

Committee on Cultural Communities


Jurisdiction: All matters relating to cultural communities.

Committee on Economic Affairs

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to economic planning and programming; the planning of
domestic and foreign indebtedness; general economic development; and coordination, regulation
and diversification of industry and investments.

Committee on Education, Arts and Culture

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to education, schools, colleges, universities; implementation of


the provisions of the Constitution regarding the establishment of free public elementary and
secondary education, scholarship grants, subsidies and incentives to deserving students; non-
formal, informal, indigenous learning systems, and adult education; the preservation, enrichment
and evolution of Filipino arts and culture; establishment and maintenance of libraries, museums,
shrines, monuments, and other historical sites and edifices; training programs and cultural and
artistic programs of international institutions and organizations operating in the Philippines, such
as the UNESCO; and special commemorative events such as the observance of the centennial of
Philippine Independence.

Committee on Energy

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to the exploration, exploitation, development, extraction,


importation, refining, transport, marketing, distribution, conservation, or storage of all forms of
energy products and resources such as from fossil fuels like petroleum, coal, natural gas and gas
liquids, nuclear fuel resources; geothermal resources and non-conventional, existing and
potential forms of energy resources; and generation, transmission and distribution of electric
power.

Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to the conservation and protection of the environment, the
regulation of the impact of human activities on the same, the promotion of environmental
awareness of our citizens, the renewal of resources in damaged ecosystems and other
environment-related issues; and all matters relating to the administration, management,
development, protection, exploration, storage, renewal, regulation and licensing, and wise
utilization of the countrys national reserves including, but not limited to forest, mineral, public
land, off-shore areas and the development of industries based on these resources.

Committee on Ethics and Privileges

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to the conduct, rights, privileges, safety, dignity, integrity and
reputation of the Senate and its Members.

Committee on Finance
Jurisdiction: All matters relating to funds for the expenditures of the National Government and
for the payment of public indebtedness; auditing of accounts and expenditures of the National
Government; claims against the government; inter-governmental revenue sharing; and, in
general, all matters relating to public expenditures.

Committee on Foreign Relations

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to the relations of the Philippines with other nations generally;
diplomatic and consular services; the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; the United
Nations Organization and its agencies; multilateral organizations; all international agreements,
obligations and contracts; and overseas Filipinos.

Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to games and amusement, such as lotteries, jai-alai, horse
racing, dog racing, wrestling, boxing, basketball and all other sports, as well as matters relating
to amateur sports development.

Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises

Jurisdiction: All questions affecting government corporations, including all amendments to their
charters; the interests of the government in the different industrial and commercial enterprises;
and privatization.

Committee on Health and Demography

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to public health in general, medical, hospital and quarantine
services; population issues, concerns, policies and programs affecting individuals and their
families, their effects on national, social and economic conditions.

Committee on Justice and Human Rights

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to the organization and administration of justice, civil courts,
penitentiaries and reformatory schools; probation; impeachment proceedings against
constitutional officers and other officers legally removable by impeachment; registration of land
titles; immigration and naturalization; the implementation of the provisions of the Constitution
on human rights; and all matters pertaining to the efficiency and reforms in the prosecution
service.

Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to labor employment and human resource development;
maintenance of industrial peace; promotion of employer-employee cooperation; labor education,
standards and statistics; organization of the labor market including recruitment, training and
placement of workers and exports of human resources; foreign workers in the Philippines;
promotion and development of workers organizations; and promotion and development of
employment-intensive technology.

Committee on Local Government

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to autonomous regions, provinces, cities, special metropolitan
political subdivisions, municipalities and barangays.

Committee on National Defense and Security

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to national defense and external and internal threats to national
security; the Armed Forces of the Philippines; pension plans and fringe benefits of war veterans
and military retirees; citizens army selective service; forts; arsenals; military bases, reservations
and yards; coast, geodetic and meteorological surveys; civil defense; and military research and
development.

Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to peace, internal armed conflict resolution, political
negotiation, cessation of hostilities, amnesty, rebel returnees, integration and development,
national unification and reconciliation.

Committee on Public Information and Mass Media

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to public information, mass communication and broadcast
services; the implementation of the provisions of the Constitution regarding ownership and
management of mass media and the advertising industry; the development and promotion of
information technology; and all matters relating to the artistic standards and quality of the motion
picture and television industry.

Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to peace and order; the Philippine National Police; the Bureau
of Jail Management; the BFP; private security agencies; the use, sale, acquisition, possession,
cultivation, manufacture and distribution of prohibited and regulated drugs and other similar
substances as provided for under pertinent laws, and the prosecution of offenders, rehabilitation
of drug users and dependents, including the formulation of drug-related policies.

Committee on Public Services

Jurisdiction: All matters affecting public services and utilities; communications; land, air, river
and sea transportation including railroads, inter-island navigation, and lighthouses; and the grant
or amendment of legislative franchises.

Committee on Public Works


Jurisdiction: All matters relating to planning, construction, maintenance, improvement and repair
of public buildings, highways, bridges, roads, ports, airports, harbors and parks; drainage, flood
control and protection; and irrigation and water utilities.

Committee on Rules

Jurisdiction: All matters affecting the Rules of the Senate; the calendar as well as parliamentary
rules and the order and manner of transacting business and the creation of committees.

The Chairman of the Committee shall be the Majority Leader of the Senate. The Vice-Chairmen
shall be the Assistant Majority Leaders.

Committee on Science and Technology

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to science and technology, including scientific and
technological research, development and advancement.

Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to rural development and welfare, and the implementation of
the provisions of the Constitution on social justice.

Committee on Tourism

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to tourism and the tourist industry.

Committee on Trade and Commerce

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to domestic and foreign trade and private corporations; patents,
copyrights, trade names and trademarks; standards, weights, measures and designs; quality
control; control and stabilization of prices of commodities; consumer protection; handicraft and
cottage industries; and marketing of commodities.

Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to urban land reform, planning, housing, resettlement and urban
community development.

Committee on Ways and Means

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to revenue generally; taxes and fees; tariffs; loans and other
sources and forms of revenue.

Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations

Jurisdiction: All matters relating to the youth, women and family relations.
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The Secretariat

The process of legislation, to begin with, has not been merely confined to the enactment of
laws or the passage of legislative proposals or resolutions. Though the latter is considered as its
primary function, Congress has likewise performed other equally important functions, such as
those flowing from its investigative and oversight powers.

Essentially, therefore, the process of legislation must be viewed as a dynamic process.


Although theoretically associated with the operation of Congress, the legislative process likewise
involves an elaborate network of external relations, linkages and coordination with other
institutions, agencies, organizations and interest groups in society.

It has been said that the legislature is not an isolated institution. As one of the traditional
branches of the government, Congress must continuously interact with both the executive and the
judiciary. To gain strength and advantages, it must establish linkages with the various sectors of
society including the academe, media, and other research-oriented groups. Likewise, to assert a
more relevant role, the legislature must always be conscious of its role in checking the excesses
of the administration, in educating the public about the issues of the day, as well as in overseeing
the conduct, behavior and performance of government agencies and officials in the discharge of
their official functions.

It is therefore in the context of the above roles and functions of Congress that lawmakers find
it extremely necessary to rely upon their staff and support services who will help them not only
in the gathering of needed basic information and relevant technical data, but also in building
feedback mechanism, linkages and ties with the socio-economic and political environment.

The significant and essential role assumed by legislative support services, moreover, can
easily be seen through their active participation in the different stages of lawmaking. Laws are
enacted precisely to respond to or meet with a given societal problem - both actual and
perceived. Legislation is therefore prompted by the necessity to address the needs and problems
in society. Thus, while legislators are charged with the task of making laws, a great deal of ideas,
data and tools necessary in the initiation, formulation and preparation of legislative proposals are
gathered and collected through the assistance and initiative of the legislative staff and support
services.

Thus, the nature and form of support service, as far as this is concerned, must indispensably
be responsive to the needs of legislation. The services to be rendered cannot always be routinary
and constant but must be flexible in order to adapt, from time to time, to the ever-changing needs
and requirements of the Senate. Of course, there are specific services which ought to be
religiously complied with in accordance with the mandate of our Constitution, such as the
preparation of journals and transcripts. But, to a large extent, support services require a certain
degree of procedural flexibility and adaptability, especially in the technical substance and
content of legislation in the Philippine context.
The Senate Secretariat performs all kinds of support services needed by the senators. The
nature and form of such services range from legislative to administrative, financial and security
services required not only by the senators themselves but also by their office staff and
employees.

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A. The Senate Secretary

The Senate Secretary, who is elected by the members of the Senate, is the head of the
Secretariat. He assists the Senate President in extending adequate and timely legislative and
administrative support to the offices of Senators. He exercises supervision and control over all
the offices of the service units and officers and employees of the Senate Secretariat. He
formulates plans, policies and programs aimed at professionalizing the institution. He is assisted
by three (3) Deputy Secretaries and the Senate Legal Counsel who are separately in-charge of
legislation, administration and finance, special support services, and legal services. For the
maintenance of security and order in the Senate, whether in session or not, the responsibility is
lodged in the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms.

Offices Under the Office of the Secretary

Among the offices directly under the supervision of the Senate Secretary are the Senate Tax
Study and Research Office (STSRO), the Protocol Office, the Policy Studies Group and the
Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office (LBRMO). The STSRO conducts studies
and formulates reform proposals on tax-related issues including drafting of the appropriate bill
and estimation of revenue impact, conducts surveys on tax and other fiscal matters, and provides
technical assistance during deliberations on tax proposals. The Office of Protocol takes charge of
important external and internal activities of the Senate that may involve the visits of foreign
dignitaries and the members of the Senate in official missions abroad. The LBRMO coordinates
with the House of Representatives and the Department of Budget and Management on the
implementation of General Appropriations Act, reviews the performance of the national
governments revenue collection and expenditure, assesses the implementation of foreign-
assisted projects and locally-funded projects, and responds to queries of agencies, LGUs and
GOCCs on matters within the purview of the Committee on Finance. Other offices also under the
direct control of the Office of the Secretary include the Management Operating and Audit
Bureau, EDP-MIS Bureau and the Public Information and Media Relations Office.

The delivery of legislative support services is directly the responsibility not only of the
Senate Secretary but also of the Deputy Secretary for Legislation.

1. The Deputy Secretary for Legislation

The Office of the Deputy Secretary for Legislation advises and assists the Office of the
Secretary and the Senate Proper in the formulation of legislative policies and programs of the
Senate. Headed by a Deputy Secretary and assisted by the Executive Director for Legislation, it
exercises general supervision over all offices and units of the Secretariat that provide technical,
plenary, committee support services, publication and printing, and reference services. It is also
responsible for the provision of legislative services in support of various committee needs,
research service, parliamentary counseling, requests for bill drafting, bill indexing and
monitoring and other activities involved in the law-making process. This Office is composed of
five bureaus, namely: the Legislative Technical Affairs Bureau, the Legislative Plenary Affairs
Bureau, the Legislative Reference Bureau, the Senate Publications Bureau and the Committee
Affairs Bureau.

Moreover, under Rule VII, Section 9 of the Rules of the Senate, in the temporary absence or
incapacity of the Secretary of the Senate, the Deputy Secretary for Legislation shall act as the
Secretary of the Senate.

2. Deputy Secretary for External Affairs

The Deputy Secretary for External Affairs and Relations advises and assists the Senate
Secretary in the formulation and implementation of external affairs and relations policies and
programs of the Senate. His office aims to institutionalize an efficient system of networking and
interaction with its external environment such as the executive branch, the academe, the private
sector, NGOs, national and international organizations, the diplomatic corps and parliamentary
organizations.

3. The Deputy Secretary for Administration and Financial Services

The Deputy Secretary for Administration and Financial Services advises and assists the
Senate Secretary in the formulation and implementation of administrative and financial policies
and programs of the Senate. Assisted by the Executive Director for Administration, he exercises
supervision over the offices and units of the Secretariat that provide administrative, financial
management and general services. Its Administrative Management Bureau assists the Senate
management in the formulation and review of administrative systems and procedures, policy
guidelines and regulations, and provides direction and supervision on the activities involved in
human resource management, medical and dental, records management and mailing and property
and procurement services. The Maintenance and General Services Bureau is directly involved in
the maintenance of all the physical facilities of the Senate, which include the buildings and
grounds, electrical and electromechanical equipment, transportation, sound, telephone and other
communication systems. The Financial Management Bureau advises and assists in the
formulation and review of financial systems and procedures, policy guidelines and regulations. It
provides direction and supervision in the accounting, budget and cash management, and in the
preparation of reports on funds released to the Senate.

4. The Senate Legal Counsel

The Senate Legal Counsel has the rank of a Deputy Secretary. He is in charge of all the legal
issues affecting the Senate and the Secretariat. Under this office is a Legal Service which advises
the Senate Secretariat on all legal issues and concerns. It drafts and interprets contracts in behalf
of the Senate. Moreover, the Legal Service is the one in charge of investigating offenses
committed by certain officers and employees of the Secretariat in violation of Civil Service
Rules and Regulations.

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B. The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms

Like the Secretary of the Senate, the Sergeant-at-Arms is elected by the members of the
Senate. His duties and functions are expressly stated in Rule VI, Section 8 of the Rules of the
Senate, to wit:

(a) To keep under his custody the mace of the Senate;

(b) To attend the sessions of the Senate;

(c) To be responsible for the security and maintenance of order in the session hall, antechambers,
corridors and offices of the Senate, whether in session or not, in accordance with the orders of
the President or the Secretary;

(d) To execute or serve, personally or through his delegates, the summons which may be issued
by the Senate or by the permanent or special committees or by the President himself;

(e) To be responsible for the strict compliance by his subordinates of their respective duties. He
may impose upon them corrective or disciplinary measures for just cause, including a
recommendation to the President of the Senate, through the Secretary, for their dismissal; and

(f) To recommend to the President, through the Secretary, approval of the uniform to be worn by
the personnel assigned to serve under him in the session hall.

The Sergeant-at-Arms is also assisted by an Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms.

https://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/composition.asp

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. One-half 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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 one-hour
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.

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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 co-extensive 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 govern-ment 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.

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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."
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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 60-day 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."

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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 government-owned 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.

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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.

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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 vice-governor,
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 above-quoted 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.

https://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/terms.asp

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OFFICIALS


The Officials of the House of Representatives are the Speaker, the Deputy Speakers, the Secretary
General and the Sergeant-at-Arms, who are elected by a majority vote of all the Members at the
commencement of each Congress; the Majority and Minority Leaders, who are elected in a party
caucus of the ruling party and the minority party, respectively.

More specifically, they perform the following functions:

The Speaker is the fourth highest official in the Philippine government. He:

Presides over the sessions;


Decides on all questions of order, subject to appeal by any Member;
Signs all acts, resolutions, memorials, writs, warrants and subpoenas issued by or upon order
of the House;
Appoints, suspends, dismisses or disciplines House personnel; and
Exercises administrative functions.

The Deputy Speakers:

Assumes the duties and powers of the Speaker when he is absent or incapacitated.

The Majority Leader:

The Majority Leader is elected in a party caucus of the majority ruling party. His primary
function, aside from being the spokesman of the majority party, is to direct the deliberations
on the floor.

The Minority Leader:

The Minority Leader is the acknowledged spokesman of the minority party in the House. But it
does not necessarily follow that he is also the leader of the party because the minority party in
the House may be composed of one or more political groupings.

The Secretary General:

Carries out and enforces orders and decisions of the House;


Keeps the Journal of each session;
Notes all questions of order together with the decisions thereon;
Completes the printing and distribution of the Records of the House;
Submits to the Speaker all contracts and agreements for his approval;
Acts as the custodian of the property and records of the House and all other government
property in its premises;
Subject to the supervision and control of the Speaker, the Secretary General is the immediate
chief of the personnel of the House and is responsible for the faithful and proper performance
of their official duties.

The Sergeant-at-Arms:

Maintains order in the House of Representatives Building Complex;


Enforces House Rules;
Protects the lives of Officers and Members of the House, its personnel and guests as well as
properties found therein.

http://www.congress.gov.ph/about/?about=officials

Hon. Alvarez, Pantaleon D.

THE SPEAKER, in the hierarchical order of political leadership, is the fourth highest official in the
Philippine government. He presides over the session; decides on all questions of order, subject to
appeal by any member; signs all acts, resolutions, memorials, writs, warrants and subpoenas issued
by or upon order of the House; appoints, suspends, dismisses or disciplines House personnel; and
exercise administrative functions.

The Speaker is elected by a majority vote of all the Members at the commencement of each Congress.

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

The Deputy Speakers of the Philippine House of Representatives are the second highest-ranking
officials of the Philippine House of Representatives. During the absence of the House Speaker, one of
the House Deputy Speakers will preside over the House of Representatives.

Hon. Raneo "Ranie" E. Abu


Hon. Mercedes K. Alvarez
Hon. Fredenil "Fred" H. Castro
Hon. Romero "Miro" S. Quimbo
Hon. Eric D. Singson

House Rules V: Section 17. Duties and Powers

The duties and powers of the Deputy Speakers are:

a. to assume the duties and powers of the Speaker when so chosen by a majority vote or by lot
among themselves, as the case may be, in cases of absence or temporary incapacity of the
Speaker, until such time that the Speaker returns to office and resumes work; and, in case of
resignation, removal, permanent incapacity or death of the Speaker, until such time that a
new Speaker is elected and qualified;
b. to preside over the session when, even if present, the Speaker does not preside, or has not
designated any other Member as temporary presiding officer as provided in Section 15(h) of
Rule IV;
c. to monitor, coordinate and facilitate action on measures filed, requests, and other concerns of
Members representing constituencies to which they may be assigned by the Speaker;
d. to recommend to the Speaker appropriate policies, strategies and programs of action to
improve the process of legislation and the quality of legislative measures, and to effectively
address concerns of Members on matters affecting them, their constituencies, and the overall
operations and integrity of the House;
e. to appoint personnel of the House when so authorized by the Speaker; and
f. to perform such other duties and functions as may be assigned or delegated to them by the
Speaker.
MAJORITY LEADER
Hon. Farias, Rodolfo C.

The Majority Leader is elected in a party caucus of the majority ruling party. His primary function,
aside from being the spokesman of the majority party, is to direct the deliberations on the floor.

In the present set-up of the House, the Majority Leader is concurrently the Chairman of the
Committee on Rules. As such, all matters relevant to the Rules of the House, specifically the calendar
of bills, preparation of Order of Business and Calendar of Business are within his responsibilities.

MINORITY LEADER

The Minority Leader is the acknowledged spokesman of the minority party in the House. But it does
not necessarily follow that he is also the leader of the party because the minority party in the House
may be composed of one or more political groupings.

Like the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader is elected in party caucus of all Members of the House in
the minority party. He is an ex-officio member of all standing Committees.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
Atty. Pareja, Cesar S.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL carries out and enforces orders and decisions of the House; keeps the
Journal of each session; notes all questions of order together with the decisions thereon; complete the
printing and distribution of the Records of the House and submits to the Speaker all contracts and
agreements approval; acts as the custodian of the property and records of the House and all other
government property in its premises. Subject to the supervision control of the Speaker, the Secretary
General is the immediate chief of the personnel of the House and is responsible for the faithful and
proper performance of their official duties.

Like the Speaker, the Secretary General is elected by a majority vote of all the Members at the
commencement of each Congress.

THE SERGEANT-AT-ARMS
Lt. Gen. Detabali, Roland M. (Retired)

THE SERGEANT-AT-ARMS is responsible for the maintenance of order in the House of


Representatives Building Complex, enforcement of House Rules, and protection of the lives of the
Officers and Members of the House, its personnel and guests as well as properties found therein.

Like the Secretary General, the Sergeant-at-Arms is elected by a majority vote of all the Members at
the commencement of each Congress.

THE HOUSE SECRETARIAT


The Secretariat provides the Members of the House with adequate, timely, relevant and efficient
administrative and technical assistance and support to enable them to perform their legislative tasks
and constituent responsibilities.

The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary General. In the discharge of his duties and responsibilities,
he is assisted by:

1. The Deputy Secretary General for Operations who oversees the:


o Plenary Affairs Bureau, which provides Secretariat services in the processing of
bills/resolutions and documentation of plenary proceedings and debates.
o Reference and Research Bureau, which provides bill drafting, legislative counseling and
research services to the House Members.

2. The Deputy Secretary General for Committee Affairs who oversees the:
o Committee Affairs Department, which provides technical and administrative support
services to the standing and special committees of the House of Representatives,
through its nine Committee Technical Support Services and one Committee
Administrative Support Service.

3. The Deputy Secretary General for Administration who oversees the:


o Administrative Management Bureau, which is responsible for personnel transactions
and human resource development, printing and reproduction, medical and dental,
records, property and procurement services.

4. The Deputy Secretary General for Finance who is responsible for the management of the
financial resources of the House by providing direction, assistance and advice on budgetary
matters, and control on the utilization of funds of the House. He oversees the:
o Accounting, Budget and Cashiering Services, which are responsible for implementing
approved programs, systems and procedures relating to financial matters.

5. The Deputy Secretary General for Internal Audit who oversees the:
o Management Audit Service, which conducts periodic examination and evaluation of the
administrative systems on personnel records, procurement and property management
to determine compliance with internal policies, applicable laws, rules and regulations.
o Fiscal Control Service, which evaluates the adequacy of the internal control system in
safeguarding assets and properties and coordinates with the Commission on Audit in
implementing recommendations contained in its annual audit report.
6. The Deputy Secretary General for Engineering and Physical Facilities who oversees
the:
o Engineering Service, which maintains all mechanical, electrical and communication
facilities of the House.
o Building and Grounds Maintenance Service, which oversees the construction,
maintenance and repair of the House grounds and facilities.

7. The Deputy Secretary General for Legal Affairs who oversees the:
o Office of Legal Affairs, which provides legal services including the investigation and
review of administrative cases of Secretariat personnel, legal research and the
rendering of legal opinions on matters of local and national concern.

8. The Deputy Secretary General for the Congressional Policy and Budget Research
Department (per Administrative Order No. 05-15, 05 October 2015) oversees the Socio-
Economic Research Bureau (SERB) and the Budget and Tax Research Bureau (BTRB) in
providing technical service in the formulation of national economic, fiscal, and social policies.
o The Socio-Economic Research Bureau (SERB), provides technical assistance to the
Speaker, House Members, and House Committees in the conceptualization,
formulation, review, and evaluation of economic and social policies. The SERB shall
have two Services, namely:
The Economic Policy Research Service (EPRS), prepares technical papers and
studies on the macroeconomy including an analysis of the national budget and
its conformity with macroeconomic assumptions and forecasts; undertakes
simulations and analyses of key macroeconomic variables, industry,
infrastructure and other socio-economic data necessary for the consideration
of pertinent legislative measures; and assists in the review of the national
development plan and relevant economic policies.
The Social Policy Research Service (SPRS), undertakes researches and studies
on social and rural policy concerns in aid of legislation and in support of the
oversight functions of the House of Representatives; coordinates and liaises
with government agencies, multi-lateral institutions, academe and civil
organizations for knowledge sharing; maintains databases on social and rural
development concerns; reviews various national development plans and other
sectoral reform documents.

o Budget and Tax Research Bureau (BTRB), provides technical assistance to the
Speaker, House Members, and House Committees in the formulation and review of
policies relating to budget and taxation, and in the analyses of the governments fiscal
position and use of funds. The BTRB shall have two Services, namely:
The Budget Policy Research Service (BPRS) , provides information on the
budget and bills authorizing and providing budget authority or tax
expenditures; prepares macro analysis of the national budget; monitors and
evaluates government programs and projects and assistance in the oversight
functions of the House of Representatives; and reviews and analyzes the
performance of various government agencies.
The Tax Policy Research Service (TPRS) , provides technical inputs on tax
proposals and revenue-generating systems; conducts research on tax
measures and the effects of fiscal incentives, tax concessions, and foreign
agreements on tariff and international trade; monitors and assesses existing
revenue-generating systems and recommendation of possible alternative
sources and forms of revenue; and identifies areas of improvement in revenue
collection and recommendation of studies and research on the conduct of tax
collection and other fiscal matters.

9. The Deputy Secretary General for Legislative Information Resources Management is


responsible for managing legislative information and information-related resources, and
services to serve the needs of the House of Representatives in serving its constitutional
mandate, the House Members in performing their lawmaking, constituency, and oversight
duties and responsibilities, and the general public in accessing legislative information. As the
House of Representatives historian, the Deputy Secretary General for Legislative Information
Resources Management oversees the:
o Congressional Library Bureau
o Archives and Musuem Management Bureau

The following offices are under the Secretary General:

1. The Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Special Affairs Bureau which oversees the:
o The mandate of formulating and implementing the plans, projects and programs
relating to inter-parliamentary relations and diplomacy of the House of
Representatives is performed by Inter-Parliamentary Relations Service (IPRS). The
thrust of the IPRS is to stengthen the inter-parliamentary diplomacy of the House of
Representatives as concretized through participation in bilateral and multilateral
parliamentary meetings, conferences, dialogues, consultations, and exchange visits to
promote mutual goodwill, understanding and friendly contacts beneficial to the
Philippines and the creation of bilateral friendship groups.
o The Travel Support Service (TSS) extends consular related assistance to official House
Delegations attending parliamentary meetings or undertaking official foreign mission.
It takes charge of facilitating the application and revalidation of diplomatic and official
passports as well as ordinary passports. It liaises with foreign embassies to process
visa applications and with the DFA for all consular related requests of House Members.
o The Protocol and Special Affairs Service (PSAS) takes charge of providing protocolar
assistance and coordinating the special affairs of the House of Representatives. It is
composed of two (2) Groups: the Protocol Group (PG) and the Special Affairs Group
(SAG).

2. Knowledge Management Systems Bureau which oversees the:


o Information and Communication Technology Service, which is responsible for the
overall planning, development and implementation of the ICT plans and programs for
the House of Representatives. It serves as a support function of the Secretariat to
achieve more effective and efficient legislation and operations throught the
establishment of appropriate information, and communication infrastructures, and the
implementation of comprehensive automated information systems.
o Planning and Management Information Service which institutionalizes systems in the
Secretariat to eneble formulation and periodic assessment of its plans, programs, and
policies, and provides technical and administrative support to the EXCOM (Executive
Committee), and various Secretariat units such as the conduct of studies to maximize
resource and manpower utilization.

3. Public Relations and Information Bureau who oversees the:


o Publishing and Design Service, which is tasked to obtain a clear, consistent and up-to-
date corporate visual image of the House of Representatives.
o Media Affairs and Public Information Service, which is responsible for creating a
conducive climate for free exchange of information between the House of
Representatives and the mass media relative to the House of Representatives.
o Public Affairs Service, which conceptualizes, organizes and implements public affairs
activities and programs in the House of Representatives.

294 members

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two
hundred and fifty (250) members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative
districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with
the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and
those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national,
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty
per cent (20%) of the total number of representatives including those under the party list.

A Member of the House of Representatives should be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on
the day of the election, is at least twenty-five (25) years of age, able to read and write, and, except
the party list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a
resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately proceeding the day of the election.

The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years, and shall
serve for no more than three consecutive terms.

Below is the list of House committee chairmanships in the 17th Congress so far:

1. Accounts Elenita Ermita-Buhain, Batangas 1st District

2. Agrarian Reform Rene Relampagos, Bohol 1st District


3. Agriculture and Food Jose Panganiban Jr, ANAC-IP
4. Appropriations Karlo Nograles, Davao City 1st District
5. Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources: Luis Ferrer IV, Cavite 6th District
6. Bases Conversion Emi Calixto-Rubiano, Pasay City
7. Basic Education and Culture Evelina Escudero, Sorsogon 1st District
8. Bicol Recovery and Economic Development Renato Unico Jr, Camarines
Norte 1st District
9. Civil Service and Professional Regulation Vilma Santos-Recto, Batangas
6th District
10. Climate Change Christopher Co, AKO Bicol
11. Constitutional Amendments Roger Mercado, Southern Leyte
12. Cooperative Development Rico Geron, AGAP
13. Dangerous Drugs Robert Barbers, Surigao del Norte 2nd District
14. East Asian Growth Area Mercedes Cagas, Davao del Sur
15. Ecology Estrelita Suansing, Nueva Ecija 1st District
16. Economic Affairs Arthur Yap, Tarlac 2nd District
17. Energy Lord Allan Velasco, Marinduque
18. Food Security Leo Rafael Cueva, Negros Occidental 2nd District
19. Foreign Affairs Linabelle Villarica, Bulacan 4th District
20. Games and Amusement Gus Tambunting, Paraaque City 2nd
District
21. Globalization and WTO Jesulito Manalo, ANGKLA
22. Government Enterprises Jesus Sacdalan, North Cotabato 1st
District
23. Government Reorganization Henedina Abad, Batanes
24. Globalization and World Trade Organization Christopher Co, AKO
Bicol
25. Health Angelina Tan, Quezon 4th District
26. Housing and Urban Development Alfredo Benitez, Negros
Occidental 3rd District
27. Human Rights Cherry Deloso-Montalla, Zambales 2nd District
28. Indigenous Peoples Nancy Catamco, North Cotabato 2nd District
29. Information and Communications Technology Arthur Yap, Bohol
3rd District
30. Inter-parliamentary Relations Diplomacy Rosamarie Arenas,
Pangasinan 3rd District
31. Justice Reynaldo Umali, Oriental Mindoro 2nd District
32. Legislative Franchises Franz Alvarez, Palawan 1st District
33. Labor and Employment Randolph Ting, Cagayan 3rd District
34. Land Use Alejandro Mirasol, Negros Occidental 5th District
35. Local Government Pedro Acheron Jr, South Cotabato 1st District
36. Metro Manila Development Winston Castelo, Quezon City 2nd
District
37. Mindanao Affairs Maximo Rodriguez, Cagayan de Oro 2nd District
38. Muslim Affairs Siti Hataman, AMIN
39. National Defense and Security Amado Espino Jr, Pangasinan 5th
District
40. Natural Resources Carlos Isagani Zarate, Bayan Muna
41. North Luzon Quadrangle Maximo Dalog, Mountain Province
42. Overseas Workers Affairs Mariano Velardo Jr, Buhay
43. Peace Reconciliation and Unity Ruby Sahali, Tawi-Tawi
44. People's Participation Kaka Bag-ao, Dinagat Islands
45. Population and Family Relations Sol Aragones, Laguna 3rd District
46. Poverty Alleviation Emmi de Jesus, Gabriela Womens Party
47. Public Information Antonio Tinio, ACT Teachers
48. Public Order and Safety Romeo Acop, Antipolo 2nd District
49. Reforestation Noel Villanueva, Tarlac 3rd District
50. Revision of Laws Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Pangasinan 6th
District
51. Rules Rudy Farias, Ilocos Norte 1st District
52. Rural Development Deogracias Ramos Jr, Sorsogon 2nd District
53. Science and Technology Erico Aristotle Aumentado, Bohol 2nd
District
54. Small Business and Entrepreneurial Development: Peter Unabia Sr,
Misamis Oriental 1st District
55. Social Services Frederick Abueg, Palawan 2nd District
56. Southern Tagalog Development Isidro Rodriguez Jr, Rizal 2nd
District
57. Suffrage and Electoral Reforms Sherwin Tugna, CIBAC
58. Sustainable Development Goals Elisa Kho, Masbate 2nd District
59. Tourism Lucy Gomez, Leyte 4th District
60. Trade and Industry Rico Geron, AGAP
61. Transportation Cesar Sarmiento, Catanduanes
62. Veterans' Affairs and Welfare: Leopoldo Bataoil, Pangasinan 2nd
District
63. Welfare of Children Aurora Enerio-Cerilles, Zamboanga del Sur
2nd District
64. Women and Gender Equiality Em Aglipay-Villar, DIWA
65. Youth and Sports Development Conrado Estrella III, Abono
66. Special Committee on the West Philippine Sea Feliciano Belmonte
Jr, Quezon City 4th District

San Juan City Representative Ronaldo Zamora was also named the head of the
House contingent for the Commission on Appointments. He was the minority
leader in the 16th Congress. Rappler.com