The Legislative Department
The Congress shall have Legislative power. It will consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives
The Senate shall have 24 Senators chosen by the qualified electors of the Philippines.
The term of office of Senators is 6 years beginning on December 30 after their election.
The first Senators elected under this Constitution shall, in the manner provided by law, be divided equally into three groups, the Senators of the first group, to serve for a term of six years; those of the second group, for four years; and those of the third group, for two years.
The Senators must be:
- natural born citizens of the Philippines at the time of his election
- at least 35 years old, a qualified elector, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately prior to his election.
The House of Representatives
The House of Representatives shall have not more than 120 Members who shall be apportioned among the several provinces as nearly as may be accorded to the number of their respective inhabitants. Each province shall have at least 1 Member.
The Congress shall by law make an apportionment within 3 years after the return of every enumeration, and not otherwise. Until such apportionment shall have been made, the House of Representatives shall have the same number of Members as that fixed by law for the National Assembly, who shall be elected by the qualified electors from the present Assembly districts. Each representative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous and compact territory.
Section 6. The term of office of the Members of the House of Representatives shall be four years and shall begin on the thirtieth day of December next following their election.
Section 7. No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he be a natural born citizen of the Philippines, and, at the time of his election, is at least twenty-five years of age, a qualified elector, and a resident of the province in which he is chosen for not less than one year immediately prior to his election.
Section 8. (1) Elections for Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall be held in the manner and on the dates fixed by law.
(2) In case of vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term.
Section 9. The Congress shall convene in regular session once every year on the fourth Monday of January, unless a different date is fixed by law. It may be called in special session at any time by the President to consider general legislation or only such subjects as he may designate. No special session shall continue longer than thirty days and no regular session longer than one hundred days, exclusive of Sundays.
Section 10. (1) The Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives its Speaker.
Each House shall choose such other officers as may be required.
(2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner and under such penalties as such House may provide.
(3) Each House may determine the rule of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members, expel a Member.
(4) Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in its judgment requires secrecy; and the yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, be entered into the Journal.
(5) Neither House during the sessions of the Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
The Senate and the House of Representatives shall have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen by each House, three upon nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and three of the party having the second largest numbers of votes therein. The senior Justice in each Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.
There shall be a Commission on Appointments consisting of twelve Senators and twelve Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House, respectively, on the basis of proportional representation of the political parties therein. The president of the Senate shall be the Chairman ex officio of the Commission, but shall not vote except in case of tie.
The Electoral Tribunal and the Commission on Appointments shall be constituted within thirty days after the Senate and the House of Representatives shall have been organized with the election of their President and Speaker, respectively. The Commission on Appointments shall meet only while the Congress is in session, at the call of its Chairman or a majority of its Members, to discharge such powers and functions as are herein conferred upon it.
The Senators and the Members of the House of Representatives shall, unless otherwise provided by law, receive an annual compensation of 7,200 pesos each, including per diems and other emoluments or allowances and exclusive only of traveling expenses to and from their respective districts in the case of Members of the House of Representatives, and to an from their places of residence in the case of Senators, when attending sessions of the Congress.
No increase in said compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the full term of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives approving such increase. Until otherwise provided by law, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each receive an annual compensation of sixteen thousand pesos.
Section 15. The Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of the Congress, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate therein, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
Section 16. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may hold any other office or employment in the government without forfeiting his seat, nor shall any Senator or Member of the House of Representatives, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office which may have been created or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased while he was a Member of the Congress.
Section 17. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall directly or indirectly be financially interested in any contract with the government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Congress during his term of office.
He shall not appear as counsel before the Electoral Tribunals or before any court in any civil case wherein the Government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof is the adverse party, or in any criminal case wherein an officer or employee of the government is accused of an offense committed in relation to his office, or collect any fee for his appearance in any administrative proceedings; or accept employment to intervene in any cause or matter where he may be called upon to act on account of his office. No Member of the Commission on Appointments shall appear as counsel before any court inferior to a collegiate court of appellate jurisdiction.
Section 18. All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills, shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.
(1) The President shall submit within fifteen days of the opening of each regular session of the Congress a budget of receipts and expenditures, which shall be the basis of the general appropriations bill. The Congress may not increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Government as specified in the Budget, except the appropriations for the Congress and the Judicial Department. The form of the Budget and the information that it should contain shall be prescribed by law.
(2) No provision or enactment shall be embraced in the general appropriations bill unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriation therein; and any such provision or enactment shall be limited in its operation to such appropriation.
Section 20. (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it with his objections to the House where it originated, which shall enter the objections at large on its Journal and proceed to reconsider it.
If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent together, with the objections, to the House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the Members of that House, it shall become a law.
In all such cases, the votes of each House shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the Members voting for and against shall be entered on its Journal. If any bill shall not be returned by the President as herein provided within twenty days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall become a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall become a law unless vetoed by the President within thirty days after adjournment.
(2) The President shall have the power to veto any particular item or items of an appropriation bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to which he does not object. When a provision of an appropriation bill affects one or more items of the same, the President cannot veto the provision without at the same time, vetoing the particular item or items to which it relates. The item or items objected to shall not take effect except in the manner heretofore provided as to bills returned to the Congress without the approval of the President.
If the veto refers to a bill or any item of an appropriation bill which appropriates a sum in excess of ten per centum of the total amount voted in the appropriation bill for the general expenses of the Government for the preceding year, or if it should refer to a bill authorizing an increase of the public debt, the same shall not become a law unless approved by three-fourths of all the Members of each House.
(3) The President shall have the power to veto any separate item or items in a revenue of tariff bill, and the item or items shall not take effect except in the manner provided as to bills vetoed by the President.
Section 21. (1) No bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill.
(2) No bill shall be passed by either House unless it shall have been printed and copies thereof in its final form furnished its Members at least three calendar days prior to its passage, except when the President shall have certified to the necessity of its immediate enactment. Upon the last reading of a bill no amendment thereof shall be allowed, and the question upon its passage shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered on the Journal.
Section 22. (1) The rule of taxation shall be uniform.
(2) The Congress may by law authorize the President, subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose, to fix, within specified limits, tariff rates, import or export quotas, and tonnage and wharfage dues.
(3) Cemeteries, churches, and parsonages or convents appurtenant thereto, and all lands, buildings, and improvements used exclusively for religious, charitable, or educational purposes shall be exempt from taxation.
Section 23. (1) All money collected on any tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such purpose only. If the purpose for which a special fund was crated has been fulfilled or abandoned, the balance, if any, shall be transferred to the general funds of the Government.
(2) No money shall be paid out of Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.
(3) No public money, or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution or system of religion, for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, ministers, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal institution, orphanage or leprosarium.
Section 24. The heads of departments upon their own initiative or upon the request of either House may appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments, unless the public interest shall require otherwise and the President shall so state in writing.
Section 25. The Congress, shall, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the Members of each House, have the sole power to declare war.
Section 26. In times of war and other national emergency the Congress may by law authorize the President, for a limited period, and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to promulgate rules and regulations to carry out a declared national policy.