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|House of Representatives of the Philippines
Kapulungan ng mga Kinatawan ng Pilipinas
|15th Congress of the Philippines|
|Term limits||3 terms (9 years)|
|Speaker||Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., National Unity Party
Since July 26, 2010
|Deputy Speakers||Lorenzo Tañada III (LP)
Pablo P. Garcia (NUP)
Arnulfo Fuentebella (NPC)
Crispin Remulla (NP)
Ma. Isabelle Salazar (LP)
Raul Daza (LP)
|Majority Floor Leader||Neptali Gonzales II, (LP)
Since July 26, 2010
|Minority Floor Leader||Danilo Suarez, (Lakas-CMD)
Since January 20, 2012
229 from geographical districts
57 party-list representatives
|Length of term||3 years|
|Authority||Article VI, Constitution of the Philippines|
|Voting system||Parallel voting|
|Last election||May 10, 2010|
|Next election||May 13, 2013|
|Redistricting||Districts are redistricted by Congress after each census (has never been done since 1987)
By statute (most frequent method).
|Batasang Pambansa Complex
Batasan Hills, Quezon City,
|House of Representatives of the Philippines|
The House of Representatives of the Philippines (Filipino: Kapulungan ng mga Kinatawan ng Pilipinas; also known in its Spanish name Camara de Representantes de Filipinas) is the lower house of the Congress of the Philippines. The Senate is the upper house. The House is often informally called Congress. Members of the house are called Congressmen (mga kinatawan or mga konggresista) and their title is Representative. Congressmen are elected to a three-year term and can be reelected, but cannot serve more than three consecutive terms. Around eighty percent of congressmen are district representatives, representing a particular geographical area. There are 229 legislative districts in the country, each composed of about 250,000 people. There are also party-list representatives elected through the party-list system who constitute not more than twenty percent of the total number of Representatives.
Aside from having its concurrence on every bill in order to be passed for the president's signature to become a law, the House of Representatives has the power to impeach certain officials, and all money bills must originate from the lower house.
The House of Representatives is headed by Speaker, currently occupied by Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City. The official headquarters of the House of Representatives is at the Batasang Pambansa (literally, national legislature) located at the Batasan Hills in Quezon City in Metro Manila. The building is often simply called Batasan; the word has also became a metonym to refer to the House of Representatives.
When the Philippines was under American colonial rule, the legislative body was the Philippine Commission which existed from September 1900 to October 1907. The President of the United States appointed the members of the Philippine Commission.
The Philippine Bill of 1902 mandated the creation of a bicameral or a two-chamber Philippine Legislature with the Philippine Commission as the Upper House and the Philippine Assembly as the Lower House. This bicameral legislature was inaugurated in October 1907. Through the leadership of Speaker Sergio Osmeña and Floor Leader Manuel L. Quezon, the Rules of the 59th United States Congress was substantially adopted as the Rules of the Philippine Legislature. Osmeña and Quezon led the Nacionalista Party, with a platform of independence from the United States, into successive electoral victories against the Progresista Party and later the Democrata Party, which first advocated United States statehood, then opposed immediate independence.
In 1916, the Jones Act or the Philippine Autonomy Act changed the legislative system. The Philippine Commission was abolished and a new bicameral Philippine Legislature consisting of a House of Representatives and a Senate was established. The Nacionalistas continued their electoral dominance at this point, although they were split into two factions led by Osmeña and Quezon; the two reconciled in 1924, and controlled the Assembly via a virtual dominant-party system.
The legislative system was changed again in 1935. The 1935 Constitution established a unicameral National Assembly. But in 1940, through an amendment to the 1935 Constitution, a bicameral Congress of the Philippines consisting of a House of Representatives and a Senate was adopted.
Upon the inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines in 1946, Republic Act No. 6 was enacted providing that on the date of the proclamation of the Republic of the Philippines, the existing Congress would be known as the First Congress of the Republic. The "Liberal bloc" of the Nacionalistas permanently split from their ranks, creating the Liberal Party. These two will contest all of the elections in what appeared to be a two-party system. The party of the ruling president wins the elections in the House of Representatives; in cases where the party of the president and the majority of the members of the House of Representatives are different, a sufficient enough number will break away and join the party of the president, thereby ensuring that the president will have control of the House of Representatives.
This set up continued until President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law and abolished Congress. He would rule by decree even after the 1973 Constitution abolished the bicameral Congress and created a unicameral Batasang Pambansa parliamentary system of government, as parliamentary election would not occur in 1978. Marcos' Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL; New Society Movement) won all of the seats except those from the Central Visayas ushering in an era of KBL dominance, which will continue until the People Power Revolution overthrew Marcos in 1986.
The 1987 Constitution restored the presidential system of government together with a bicameral Congress of the Philippines. One deviation from the previous setup was the introduction of the mid-term election; however, the dynamics of the House of Representatives resumed its pre-1972 state, with the party of the president controlling the chamber, although political pluralism ensued that prevented the restoration of the old Nacionalista-Liberal two-party system. Instead, a multi-party system evolved.
Corazon Aquino who nominally had no party, supported the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP; Struggle of the Democratic Filipinos). With the victory of Fidel V. Ramos in the 1992 presidential election, many representatives defected to his Lakas-NUCD party; the same would happen with Joseph Estrada's victory in 1998, but he lost support when he was ousted after the 2001 EDSA Revolution that brought his vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to power. This also meant the restoration of Lakas-NUCD as the top party in the chamber. The same would happen when Benigno Aquino won in 2010, which returned the Liberals into power.
The presiding officer is the Speaker. Unlike the Senate President, the Speaker usually serves the entire term of Congress, although there had been instances when the Speaker left office due to conflict with the president: examples include Jose de Venecia, Jr.'s resignation as speaker in 2008 when his son Joey de Venecia exposed alleged corrupt practices by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, and Manny Villar's ouster occurred after he allowed the impeachment of President Estrada in 2000.
The Speaker is the head of the House of Representatives. 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 majority of all the members of the house, including vacant seats. The speaker is traditionally elected at the convening of each Congress. Before a speaker is elected, the House's sergeant-at-arms sits as the "Presiding Officer" until a speaker is elected. Compared to the Senate President, the unseating of an incumbent speaker is rarer.
There are a constant number of deputy speakers. The deputy speakers perform the speaker's role when the speaker is absent. In the 14th Congress, there were deputy speakers for Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and women. In the 15th Congress, the deputy speakers represent the chamber at-large.
Lorenzo Tañada III of Quezon's 4th district, Pablo Garcia of Cebu's 2nd district, Arnulfo Fuentebella of Camarines Sur's 4th district, Crispin Remulla of Cavite's 7th district, Maria Isabelle Climaco Salazar of Zamboanga City's 1st district and Raul Daza of Northern Samar's 1st district are the deputy speakers.
The majority leader, aside from being the spokesman of the majority party, is to direct the deliberations on the floor. The Majority Leader is also concurrently the Chairman of the Committee on Rules. The majority leader is elected in a party caucus of the ruling majority party.
The minority leader is the spokesman of the minority party in the House and is an ex-officio member of all standing Committees. The minority leader is elected in party caucus of all Members of the House in the minority party, although by tradition, the losing candidate for speaker is named the minority leader.
There was a position of speaker pro tempore for congresses prior the declaration of martial law. The speaker pro tempore was the next highest position in the House after the speaker. The position was replaced by the deputy speakers.
The secretary general enforces orders and decisions of the House; keeps the Journal of each session; notes all questions of order, among other things. The secretary general presides over the chamber at the first legislative session after an election, and is elected by a majority of the members.
Marilyn Barua-Yap is the Secretary General of the House of Representatives.
The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for the maintenance of order in the House of Representatives, among other things. Like the secretary general, the sergeant-at-arms is elected by a majority of the members.
Retired Brigadier General Nicasio J. Radovan, Jr. is the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives.
There are two types of representatives in the chamber: representatives from congressional districts and party-list representatives. Eighty percent of representatives shall come from congressional districts, with each district returning one representative. Although each district should have a population of at least 250,000 people, all provinces have at least one legislative district, regardless of population, whose residents vote for their own congressman; several cities have representation on their own independent of provinces, although they should have at least a population of 250,000. For provinces that have more than one legislative district, the provincial districts are identical to the corresponding legislative district, with the exclusion of cities that do not vote for provincial officials.
The representatives from the districts comprise at most 80% of the members of the House; therefore, for a party to have a majority of seats in the House, the party needs to win at least 60% of the district seats. No party since the approval of the 1987 constitution has been able to win a majority of seats, hence coalitions are not uncommon.
Note: Some independent cities are grouped with provinces for purposes of representation to the House of Representatives.
The party-list system is the name designated for party-list representation. Under the 1987 Constitution, the electorate can vote for certain party-list organizations in order to give voice to significant minorities of society that would otherwise not be adequately represented through geographical district. From 1987-1998, party-list representatives were appointed by the President.
Since 1998, each voter votes for a single party-list organization. Organizations that garner at least 2% of the total number of votes are awarded one representative for every 2% up to a maximum of three representatives. Thus, there can be at most 50 party-list representatives in Congress, though usually no more than 20 are elected because many organizations do not reach the required 2% minimum number of votes.
After the 2007 election, in a controversial decision, the Supreme Court ordered the COMELEC to change how it allocates the party-list seats. Under the new formula only one party will have the maximum 3 seats. It based its decision on a formula contained in the VFP vs. COMELEC decision. In 2009, in the BANAT vs. COMELEC decision, it was changed anew in which parties with less than 2% of the vote were given seats to fulfill the 20% quota as set forth in the constitution.
Aside from determining which party won and allocating the number of seats won per party, another point of contention was whether the nominees should be a member of the marginalized group they are supposed to represent; in the Ang Bagong Bayani vs. COMELEC decision, the Supreme Court not only ruled that the nominees should be a member of the marginalized sector, but it also disallowed major political parties from participating in the party-list election. However, on the BANAT decision, the court ruled hat since the law didn't specify who belongs to a marginalized sector, the court allowed anyone to be a nominee as long as the nominee as a member of the party (not necessarily the marginalized group the party is supposed to represent).
Congress is mandated to reapportion the legislative districts within three years following the return of every census. Since its restoration in 1987, no general apportionment law has been passed, despite the publication of four censuses in 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2007. The increase in the number of representative districts since 1987 were mostly due to the creation of new provinces, cities, and piecemeal redistricting of certain provinces and cities.
|1||2nd District of Quezon City||1,611,488|
|2||1st District of Caloocan City||1,093,424|
|3||1st District of Rizal||953,080|
|4||1st District of Laguna||862,376|
|5||2nd District of Rizal||854,019|
|6||2nd District of Laguna||795,395|
|7||1st District of South Cotabato||774,456|
|8||1st District of Maguindanao||695,622|
|9||2th District of Batangas||680,553|
|10||1st District of Bulacan||670,237|
Because of not having nationwide reapportioning every after the census since the Constitution was made, many populous provinces and cities are underrepresented. Each legislative district is supposed to have a population of 250,000.
|Number of legislative districts|
Source: Excerpts from Most populous provinces and their legislative districts researched by: Jesus F. Llanto of Newsbreak
With 354 representatives elected from congressional districts, there should be 88 party-list representatives, or a total of 442.
The House of Representatives is modeled after the United States House of Representatives; the two chambers of Congress have roughly equal powers, and every bill or resolution that has to go through both houses needs the consent of both chambers before being passed for the president's signature. Once a bill is defeated in the House of Representatives, it is lost. Once a bill is approved by the House of Representatives on third reading, the bill is passed to the Senate, unless an identical bill has also been passed by the lower house. When a counterpart bill in the Senate is different from the one passed by the House of Representatives, either a bicameral conference committee is created consisting of members from both chambers of Congress to reconcile the differences, or either chamber may instead approve the other chamber's version.
Just like most lower houses, money bills, originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may still propose or concur with amendments, same with bills of local application and private bills. The House of Representatives has the sole power to initiate impeachment proceedings, and may impeach an official by a vote of one-third of its members. Once an official is impeached, the Senate tries that official.
The Batasang Pambansa Complex (National Legislature) at Quezon City is the seat of the House of Representatives since its restoration in 1987; it took its name from the Batasang Pambansa, the national parliament which convened there from 1978 to 1986.
The Philippine Legislature was inaugurated at the Manila Grand Opera House at 1907, then it conducted business at the Ayuntamiento in Intramuros, Manila, across the University of Santo Tomas. Governor-General Leonard Wood summoned the 2nd Philippine Legislature at Baguio and convened at the The Mansion in Baguio for three weeks. The legislature returned to the Ayutamiento, as the Manila Legislative Building was being constructed; it first convened there on July 26, 1926. The House of Representatives continued to occupy the second floor until 1945 when the area was shelled during the Battle of Manila. The building was damaged beyond repair and Congress convened at the Old Japanese Schoolhouse at Manila until the Legislative Building can be occupied again in 1949. Congress stayed at the Legislative Building, by now called the Congress Building, until President Marcos shut Congress and ruled by decree starting in 1972.
Marcos then oversaw the construction of the new home of parliament at Quezon City, which convened in 1978. The parliament, called the Batasang Pambansa continued to sit there until the passage of the 1986 Freedom Constitution. The House of Representatives inherited the Batasang Pambansa Complex in 1987.
The Batasang Pambansa Complex, now officially called the House of Representatives Building Complex, is at the National Government Center, Constitution Hills, Quezon City. Accessible via Commonwealth Avenue, the complex consists of four buildings. The Main Building hosts the session hall; the North and South wings, inaugurated on December 1977, are attached to it. The newest building, the Ramon Mitra, Jr. Building, was completed in 2001. It houses the Legislative Library, the Committee offices, the Reference and Research Bureau, and the Conference Rooms.
The members of the House of Representatives, aside from being grouped into political parties, are also grouped into the "majority bloc," "minority bloc" and "independents" (different from the independent in the sense that they are not affiliated into a political party). Originally, members who voted for the winning Speaker belong to the majority and members who voted for the opponent are the minority. The majority and minority bloc are to elect amongst themselves a floor leader. While members are allowed to switch blocs, they must do so in writing. Also, the bloc where they intend to transfer shall accept their application through writing. When the bloc the member ought to transfer refuses to accept the transferring member, or a member does not want to be a member of either bloc, that member becomes an independent member. A member that transfers to a new bloc forfeits one's committee chairmanships and memberships, until the bloc the member transfers to elects the member to committees.
The membership in each committee should be in proportion to the size of each bloc, with each bloc deciding who amongst them who will go to each committee, upon a motion by the floor leader concerned to the House of Representatives in plenary. The Speaker, Deputy Speakers, floor leaders, deputy floor leaders and the chairperson of the Committee on Accounts can vote in committees; the committee chairperson can only vote to break a tie.
To ensure that the representatives each get their pork barrel, most of them will join the majority bloc, or even to the president's party, as basis of patronage politics (known as the Padrino System locally); thus, the House of Representatives always aligns itself with the party of the sitting president.
The majority bloc sits to the right side of the speaker, facing the House of Representatives.
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Politics and government of
|Lakas-Kampi (People Power-Partner of Free Filipinos-Christian Muslim Democrats)||12,769,649||37.41%||164||121||13||86||35||7||106||36.93%||15|
|KABAKA (Partner of the Nation for Progress)||70,852||0.21%||1||1||0||1||0||0||1||0.35%|
|SARRO (Sarangani Reconciliation and Reformation Organization)||60,899||0.18%||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||0.00%||1|
|Lakas Kampi CMD coalition||12.901,400||37.80%||166||123||13||87||36||7||107||37.28%||16|
|Liberal (Liberal Party)||6,802,227||19.93%||134||33||21||23||10||3||47||16.43%||14|
|KKK (Struggle for Peace, Progress and Justice)||11,076||0.03%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Liberal Party coalition||6,813,303||19.96%||135||33||21||23||10||3||47||16.43%||14|
|Nacionalista (Nationalist Party)||3,872,637||11.35%||64||25||7||18||7||0||25||9.08%|
|Kusug (Promote Progress for Cebu)||126,144||0.37%||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|PCM (People's Champ Movement)||120,052||0.35%||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||0.35%||1|
|Ugyon Kita Capiz (Unite Capiz)||45,859||0.13%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Nacionalista Party coalition||4,164,692||11.35%||68||25||7||18||7||0||26||9.09%||1|
|PMP (Force of the Filipino Masses)||853,619||2.50%||45||2||1||1||1||2||4||1.40%||2|
|Navoteño (Party of the People of Navotas)||76,276||0.22%||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||0.35%||1|
|Magdiwang (Magdiwang Party)||47,840||0.14%||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||0.35%||1|
|Aton Tamdon Utod Negrosa-non (Let’s Take Care of our Brother Negrenses)||42,796||0.12%||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Lingkod Taguig (Service to Taguig)||16,990||0.05%||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%||1|
|Unaffiliated local parties||60,662||0.18%||4||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%||1|
|NPC (Nationalist People's Coalition)||5,450,135||15.97%||72||25||10||10||3||0||29||10.14%||7|
|PDP-Laban (Philippine Democratic Party – People's Power)||246,697||0.72%||14||5[n 2]||0||2||0||0||2||0.69%||3|
|Bigkis Pinoy (Bundle Pinoy)||206,929||0.61%||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|PDSP (Philippine Social Democratic Party)||171,345||0.50%||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||0.35%||1|
|LDP (Struggle of the Democratic Filipinos)||162,434||0.48%||3||1||1||1||0||0||2||0.69%||1|
|KBL (New Society Movement)||158,416||0.47%||10||0||1||0||0||0||1||0.35%||1|
|Aksyon (Democratic Action)||151,434||0.44%||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Lapiang Manggagawa (Workers' Party)||86,556||0.22%||3||1||0||1||0||0||1||0.35%|
|Bagumbayan-VNP (New Nation-Volunteers for a New Philippines)||74,319||0.22%||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|GAD (Grand Alliance for Democracy)||47,677||0.14%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Ang Kapatiran (Alliance for the Common Good)||45,631||0.13%||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|PGRP (Philippine Green Republican Party)||21,636||0.06%||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Bangon Pilipinas (Rise Up Philippines)||11,294||0.03%||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Lapiang Manggagawa Workers and Peasants Party||8,894||0.03%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Invalid votes[n 4]||3,292,237||8.83%|
|Total turnout[n 4]||37,293,960||73.52%|
|Registered voters[n 5]||50,723,733||100%|
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