Article 6: Parliament
Section 1. The legislative and executive powers shall be vested in a unicameral Parliament except to the extent as otherwise provided in this Constitution.
Section 2. (1) Parliament shall be composed of as many members as may be provided by law, who shall be elected from the state districts (by qualified voters in state-wide elections) 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 shall be chosen on the basis of proportional representation by the political parties according to the votes each party obtained in the preceding elections.
(2) The members chosen by the political parties shall constitute thirty per centum of the total number of members including those elected by Parliament. In the choice of such members, the political parties shall ensure that the labor, peasant, urban poor, veterans, indigenous peoples, women, youth, differently-abled, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector, are properly represented.
(3) Each Parliamentary district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory. Each Parliamentary district and each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, and each province, shall have at least one representative.
(4) Within three years following the return of every census, Parliament shall pass a law to reapportion the Parliamentary districts based on the standards provided in this Section.
Section 3. No person shall be a member of Parliament unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least 25 years old, a college graduate, and, except the members chosen by the political parties, 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 preceding the day of election.
Section 4. (1) The Members of Parliament shall be elected for a term of five years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on June 30 next following their election.
(2) Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of the members of Parliament shall be held on the second Monday of May and every five years thereafter.
(3) In case Parliament is dissolved, the President shall call a special election on the date set by the Prime Minister to be held from 45 to 60 days from the date of the dissolution of Parliament. In the new Parliament, the Members shall serve for a term of five years beginning from the time the Prime Minister convokes Parliament, which shall not be later than twenty days immediately following the elections.
(4) In case any vacancy arises in Parliament, a special election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the Member of Parliament thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term.
Section 5. Parliament shall convene once every year on the fourth Monday of July for its regular session, unless a different date is fixed by law, and shall continue to be in session for such number of days as it may determine until thirty days before the opening of its next regular session, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. The Prime Minister may call a special session at any time.
Section 6. (1) Parliament shall elect its Speaker by a majority vote of all its members. It shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary. The elections of the President and the Prime Minister shall precede all other business following the election of the Speaker.
(2) At least one-third of the Members of Parliament 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 a manner, and under such penalties, as Parliament may provide. Provided, however, that at least a majority of members of Parliament shall constitute a quorum for voting.
(3) Parliament 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 60 days.
(4) Parliament shall keep and publish a Journal of its proceedings, excepting such parts as may, in its judgment, affect national security; and the yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, be entered in the Journal.
Section 7. The salaries of the Speaker and each Member of Parliament shall be determined by law. No increase in compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the full term of all Members of Parliament approving such increase.
Section 8. All Members of Parliament shall, upon assumption of office, make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office. They shall notify Parliament of a potential conflict of interest that may arise from the filing of a proposed legislation of which they are authors.
Section 9. The records and books of accounts of Parliament 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.
Section 10. No Member of Parliament shall hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any of its subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, including government-owned or -controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat except that of Prime Minister or Member of the Cabinet. Neither shall a Member be appointed to any office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected.
Section 11. No Member of Parliament shall, during his tenure, directly or indirectly practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality, including any government-owned or
-controlled corporations, or their subsidiaries. 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.
Section 12. A Member of Parliament shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while Parliament is in session. No Member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in Parliament or in any of its committee.
Section 13. No money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.
Section 14. (1) The Prime Minister shall submit to Parliament within 30 days from the opening of each regular session, as the basis of the general appropriations bill, a budget of receipts based on existing and proposed revenue measures, and of expenditures. The form, content, and manner of preparation of the budget 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. Any such provision or enactment shall be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates.
(3) The procedure in approving appropriations for Parliament shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other ministries and agencies.
(4) If by the end of the fiscal year, Parliament shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriation law for the preceding fiscal year shall remain in force until the general appropriations bill shall have been passed by Parliament.
Section 15. A special appropriation bill shall (a) specify the purpose for which it is intended, and (b) be supported by funds, actually available as certified by the National Treasurer, or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposal.
Section 16. (1) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations. However, the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of constitutional commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general or special appropriations law for their respective offices, from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.
(2) Discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be disbursed only for the public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers, and subject to each guideline as may be prescribed by law.
(3) No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit or support of any sect, church, denomination and sectarian institution, or any system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, other religious teacher, or dignitary as such except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or to any penal institution, government orphanage or medical facility.
Section 17. The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. Parliament shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.
Section 18. Parliament may, by law, authorize the Prime Minister to fix, within specified limits and subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts, within the framework of the national development program of the Government.
Section 19. 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 created has been fulfilled or abandoned, any balance shall be transferred to the general funds of the Government.
Section 20. (1) No law granting any tax exemption shall be passed without the concurrence of a majority of all Members of Parliament.
(2) Charitable institutions, churches and parsonages or convents, mosques, nonprofit cemeteries, and all lands, buildings, and improvements actually, directly and exclusively used for religious, charitable, or educational purposes shall be exempt from taxation.
Section 21. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by a majority of all the members of Parliament.
Section 22. (1) Parliament, by a vote of two-thirds of all its members, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.
(2) In times of war or other national emergency, Parliament may by law authorize the Prime Minister, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as the law may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of Parliament, such powers shall cease upon its next adjournment.
Section 23. No law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution, without its advice and concurrence.
Section 24. No law granting a title of royalty or nobility shall be enacted.
Section 25. (1) No bill except those of local application shall be calendared without the prior recommendation of the Cabinet.
(2) No bill shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies in its final form have been distributed to its members three days before its passage, except when the Prime Minister certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the journal.
(3) Every bill passed by Parliament shall embrace only one subject matter, which shall be expressed in its title.
(4) Every bill passed by Parliament shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the Prime Minister for his signature. The Prime Minister shall act on every bill passed by Parliament within 30 days after the date of receipt thereof; otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it.
Section 26. Parliament or any of its committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.
Section 27. There shall be a question hour as often as its rules may provide during which the Prime Minister or any minister, upon their own initiative or as may be required by Parliament, can appear before and be heard to answer questions and interpellations by members of Parliament on any matter pertaining to the Government or its ministries. Written questions shall be submitted to the Speaker at least three days before their scheduled appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover related matters. The agenda shall specify the subjects of the question hour. When the security of the state or the public interest so requires, and the Prime Minister so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session.
Section 28. (1) Parliament may withdraw its confidence from the Prime Minister only by electing a successor by a majority vote of all its members. No motion for the election of such successor shall be debated and voted upon until after the lapse of three days from the submittal of such motion.
(2) The Prime Minister or any Member of Parliament may request for a popular vote of confidence from Parliament on fundamental issue or a general declaration of program or policy which must be voted upon after 72 hours have elapsed from its submission. If the vote of confidence is not carried by the majority of all the Members of Parliament, the President upon written advice of the Prime Minister shall dissolve Parliament from three to ten days from receipt of the advice, and call for an election. However, no dissolution of Parliament or vote of confidence shall take place within one year immediately preceding or following a general election.
Section 29. In case of dissolution of Parliament or the termination of its regular term, the incumbent Prime Minister and the Cabinet shall continue to conduct the affairs of Government until the new Parliament is convoked by the Prime Minister and a new Prime Minister is elected and qualified.
Section 30. Within 30 days after Parliament shall have been organized with the election of the Speaker, the Commission on Appointments shall be constituted consisting of the Speaker, as ex-officio Chairman, and up to 36 members elected by Parliament on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties represented therein. No Minister shall be elected in the Commission. The Commission on Appointments shall meet only when Parliament is in session. The Chairman of the Commission shall act on all appointments submitted to it within thirty session days of Parliament. The Commission shall rule by a majority vote of all its members. The Chairman of the Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The rules of the Commission shall be approved by Parliament.
Section 31. Within 30 days after Parliament shall have been organized with the election of the Speaker, the Electoral Tribunal shall be constituted which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of their respective members. The 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, three to be chosen by the majority party, and three to be chosen by the minority party from their respective Members of Parliament. The senior Justice of the Supreme Court shall be its Chairman. The Electoral Tribunal shall promulgate its own rules of procedures. The decision of the Electoral Tribunal is final and not subject to any appeal in or review by the Supreme Court.
Section 32. Parliament shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and referendum, and the exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by Parliament or a local legislative body after the registration of a petition signed by at least 10% of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least 3% of the registered voters thereof.
The Speaker plays a decisive role in the Parliament, henceforth, it should be spelled in this Article. The latter to is in-charge of the day-to-day affairs of the Parliament, from its publication of the Order Paper and Order of Business, etc. Courtesy cognizant to the Speaker’s role must be accorded to the same and outlined in the Constitution.
Also, congressional or parliamentary district somehow confuse many Filipino people. Should it be part of the home address or not? It is better to use the term “constituency” to remind MPs that they have been elected by their constituents and they are fully accountable to them.