Article VI: - Page 3 of 5

Legislative Department

(The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines)

Section 17

The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each 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 on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein.  The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be it Chairman.

Section 18

There shall be a Commission on Appointments consisting of the President of the Senate, as ex officio Chairman, twelve Senators, and twelve Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein.  The Chairman of the Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie.  The Commission shall act on all appointments submitted to it within thirty session days of the Congress from their submission.  The Commission shall rule by a majority vote of all the Members.

Section 19

The Electoral Tribunals 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 the President and the Speaker.  The Commission on Appointments shall meet only while the Congress is in session, at the call of its Chairman or a majority of all its Members, to discharge such powers and functions as are herein conferred upon it.

Section 20

The records and books of accounts of the Congress 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 21

The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective 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 22

The heads of departments may upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President, or upon the request of either House, as the rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments.  Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three days before their scheduled appearance.  Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related thereto.  When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session.

Section 23
  1. The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.
  2. In times of war or 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 exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy.  Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment thereof.
Section 24

All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of 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.

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