House of Representatives of the Philippines
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|House of Representatives of the Philippines |
Kapulungan ng mga Kinatawan ng Pilipinas</span></th></tr>
|16th Congress of the Philippines</tr>|
|File:Seal of the Philippine House of Representatives.svg</tr>|
|3 terms (9 years)</tr>|
234 from geographical districts
58 party-list representatives
Majority Bloc (252)
Minority Bloc (19)
Independent Minority Bloc (15)
Independent Bloc (1)
Length of term</th>
|Authority</th>||Article VI, Constitution of the Philippines</tr>|
|May 13, 2013</tr>|
|May 9, 2016</tr>|
Districts are redistricted by Congress after each census (has never been done since 1987)</tr>|
By statute (most frequent method).
|File:2011 Philippine State of the Nation Address.jpg</tr>|
Batasang Pambansa Complex</tr>|
Batasan Hills, Quezon City,
|House of Representatives of the Philippines</tr></table> The House of Representatives of the Philippines (Filipino: Kapulungan ng mga Kinatawan ng Pilipinas and Spanish: 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 234 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.|
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.
The apportionment of congressional districts is not dependent upon a specially-mandated independent government body, but rather through Republic Acts which are drafted by members of Congress. Therefore, apportionment often can be influenced by political motivations. Incumbent representatives who are not permitted by law to serve after three consecutive terms sometimes resort to dividing their district, or even creating a new province which will be guaranteed a seat, just so that they will be able to run and serve terms in a technically different district. Likewise, politicians whose political fortunes are likely to be jeopardized by any change in district boundaries may delay or even ignore the need for reapportionment.
Since 1987, the creation of some new congressional districts have been met with controversy, especially due to incumbent political clans and their allies benefiting from the new district arrangements. Some of these new congressional districts are tied to the creation of a new province, because such an act necessarily entails the creation of a new congressional district.
Most populous legislative districts
Currently the district with the lowest population is the lone district of Batanes, with only 16,604 inhabitants in 2010. The most populous congressional district, the 1st District of Caloocan City, has around 66 times more inhabitants.
Because of the lack of a nationwide reapportionment after the publication of every census since the Constitution was promulgated in 1987, many populous provinces and cities have become severely underrepresented. Each legislative district is ideally supposed to encompass a population of 250,000. The following jurisdictions currently have a deficit in their congressional representations if the constitutional ideal of 250,000 population count per district is considered:
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.
Batasang Pambansa Complex
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.
Main article: 16th Congress of the Philippines
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.
Main article: Philippine House of Representatives elections, 2013