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1987 Constitution: Article 6

Legislative Department(Sections 15 to 32)

Section 15


Regular session:
4th Monday of July (unless otherwise provided by law)

Special session: May be called anytime by the President

There shall be no session thirty days before the next regular
session (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.)
The number of regular sessions shall depend on the discretion of
the Congress.

Special session
sessions called by the President when Congress is in

Section 16

Officers of the Congress:
1. Senate President
2. Speaker of the House of Representatives
3. Any other officers elected by each house

Because of separation of powers, the court cannot
intervene to the internal affairs of the legislature.

Disciplinary action
not subject to judicial review; each House is the sole judge of what
discretionary behavior is

Purpose of Journal
1. to insure publicity of proceedings
2. to provide proof of what actually transpired in the legislature
Journal is conclusive upon the courts (upon seeing the signature of
the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Senate

Section 17

Electoral Tribunal
- the sole judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of the members of each house
of the Congress
- composed of nine members each
a. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET)
3 members of the Supreme Court (appointed by the Chief Justice)
6 House of Representatives members

b. Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET)
3 members of the Supreme Court (appointed by the Chief Justice)
6 members of the Senate
- members of each House are chosen based on their proportional

When does COMELECs jurisdiction end?
(Transfer the jurisdiction to either HRET or SET)
1. when the winning candidate has been proclaimed
2. he has taken his oath3. he has assumed office as member of the

-Judicial power includes the determination whether or not there has
been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the government.
- All political parties are given proportional representation.
- Electoral Tribunals are independent bodies.
- The Supreme Court can only intervene with Electoral

Tribunals jurisdiction when:
a. there is denial of due process of law
b. there is an error or grave abuse of discretion

Section 18

Commission on Appointments (Composition)
a. 1 Senate President (by virtue of his office)
b. 12 House of Representatives members (by
c. 12 Senate members

Commission on Appointments
- shall act on the appointments filed or submitted with
thirty session days of the Congress from their submissions- shall rule on
by majority vote of all its members

The Court ruled that a full complement of 12 was not mandatory.

Section 19

Electoral Tribunal and Commission on Appointments shall be created
within thirty days after the Senate and House of
Representatives shall have been organized.

Section 20 and 21

Legislative Investigation
- the power of inquiry (a legislative body cannot legislate
wisely or effectively in the absence of information)
- the power of investigation also includes the power to
punish a contumacious witness for contempt
- limitations:
a. must be in aid of legislation
b. must be in accordance with the duly published rules of
the Congress
c. rights of the person appearing or directly affected by such inquiries shall
be respected

Section 22

Question Hour
purpose: to formalize the oversight function
of the Congress Before the head of departments can appear
in either house, the consent of the President is needed.

Section 23

Declare the existence of war
- sole power of the Congress
- each house shall vote (at least 2/3; voting separately)

In state of war or other national emergency:
The Congress may authorize the President to carry out a
declared national policy subject to limitations:
1. limited time only
2. subject to the restrictions made by the Congress

What kind of war is renounced?
Offensive or Aggressive war.

Executive power- may make war even in the absence of a
declaration of war(only when necessary)

Emergency powers may be withdrawn by resolution of
the Congress (no need for the Presidents approval) or shall
cease upon the next adjournment.

Section 24

What are the bills that must originate solely from the House of
Money bills.
a. appropriation bills
b. revenue or tariff bills
c. bills authorizing increase in public debts
d. bills of local application
e. private bills

What can the Senate do about the money bills?
Concur or propose amendments.

The Senate can completely overhaul such bills by
:a. amendment of parts
b. amendment by substitution

Section 25

General appropriations bills
- appropriations may not be increased by the Congress
- form, content and manner of preparation must be prescribed by law
-no riders allowed

Special appropriation bills- shall specify the purpose for which
it is intended
- shall be supported by funds available

Who are authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations
bill (transfer of funds)
a. President
b. Senate President
c. Speaker of the House of Representatives
d. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
e. Heads of Constitutional Commissions

Section 26

Requirements of Bills:
1. shall embrace one subject only expressed on the title
2. shall pass three readings on separate days
3. printed copies shall be distributed to the members (three days before
its passage)

Section 27

How does a bill become a law?
1. when the President approves it
2. when the President takes no action on the bill
submitted within thirty days (executive inaction)
3. if the President vetoes it and returns the bill (together with
objections) to the house where it originated and 23 of
such house votes to approve it

When does the Constitution require the voting of yeas and nays of
the members of each House?
a. upon the last and third readings of a bill
b. at the request of 1/5 of the members present
c. in re-passing a bill over the veto of the President

Conference Committee
- resolves the conflict between the two houses of the Congress

The following bills are the only ones where the President
can exercise item
a. revenue bills
b. appropriation bills
c. tariff bills

General rule: The President cannot veto a part of the bill (its
all or nothing)
Exception: The bills mentioned above

-Publication of laws is indispensable. Failure to do it is
a denial of the due process of law because people will not
be informed of what laws to obey.
- A condition in an appropriation bill may not be vetoed
without vetoing the item to which it is attached.

Item (in budgetary legislation)- means an indivisible sum of
money dedicated to a stated purpose
- NOT some general provision of law which happens to
be put into an appropriation bill

Doctrine of Inappropriate Provision
- a provision that is constitutionally inappropriate for an
appropriation bill may be singled out for veto even if it is
not an appropriation or revenue item
- the President may veto riders in an appropriation bill
- intent of the doctrine: to prevent the legislature from
forcing the President to veto an entire appropriation law
thereby paralyzing the government

Executive Impoundment- refusal of the President to spend funds already
allocated by Congress for a specific purpose

Section 28

Rule of Taxation
- shall be uniform and equitable (tax must operate with the same force
and effect in every place where the subject of it is to be
- progressive system
the rate increases as the tax base increases (more equitable
distribution of wealth)
- must not be oppressive

Power to tax
- purpose: to raise revenue or to regulate
- limitation: shall only be exercised for a public purpose

- The power to tax may be delegated by the legislative to
the executive
.- The Congress (delegating authority) has the right to
impose restrictions and limitations on the taxation power delegated to
the President.

Institutions exempt from taxation:
a. charitable institutions
b. churches
c. parsonages or convents appurtenant thereto
d. mosques
e. non-profit cemeteries
f. all lands, buildings and improvements actually, directly and exclusively
used for religious, charitable or education purposes

No law granting any tax exemption shall be passed without the
concurrence of a majority of all the members of the

Section 29

Congress- has the control of the expenditure of public funds- no money
shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation
made by law [Congress]

Public money can be appropriated only for public purpose. It cannot be
appropriated, applied, pair or employed for (director indirect) use, benefit
or support of any:
a. sect
b. church
c. denomination
d. sectarian institution
e. system of religion

Section 30

The Congress can increase the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court only with the advice and concurrence of the Supreme Court itself.

Reason: to prevent the overburdening of the Supreme Court

Section 31

The Constitution prohibits the State from granting:
a. title of royalty
b. title of nobility

Section 32

The Congress shall provide:
system of initiative and referendum
- the Congress does not have the exclusive right to pass laws
- the people can also legislate through initiative and
a. directly propose and enact laws
b. approve or reject any law or a part of it

Registration of petition:
- required- shall be signed by
:a. at least 10% of the total number of registered voters
b. every legislative district must be represented with at least 3%of the
registered voters thereof

See: Republic Act 6735 The Initiative and Referendum
Law ____________________________
Notes compiled by The Law Chic. Taken from The 1987Constitution
of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary by Joaquin Bernas, S.J.