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Article 8

Batasang Pambansa

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Article 8:

Section 1. The Legislative power shall be vested in a Batasang Pambansa.

SEC. 2. The Batasang Pambansa which shall be composed of not more than 200 Members unless otherwise provided by law, shall include representatives elected from the different regions of the Philippines, those elected or selected from various sectors as may be provided by law, and those chosen by the President from the members of the Cabinet. Regional representatives shall be apportioned among the regions in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio.

The number of representatives from each region and the manner of their election shall be prescribed by law. The number of representatives from each sector and the manner of their election or selection shall be prescribed by law.

SEC. 3. (l) The Members of the Batasang Pambansa shall have a term of six years which shall begin; unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election.

(2) In case the Batasang Pambansa is dissolved, the newly elected Members shall serve the unexpired portion of the term from the time the President convokes the Assembly, which shall not be later than thirty days immediately following their election.

SEC. 4. No person shall be a Member of the Batasang Pambansa as a regional representative unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter in the Region in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.

A sectoral representative shall be a natural-born citizen, able to read and write, and shall have such other qualifications as may be provided by law.

SEC. 5. (1) The regular election of the Members of the Batasang Pambansa shall be held on the second Monday of May 1984 and every six years thereafter.

(2) In case a vacancy arises in the Batasang Pambansa eighteen months or more before a regular election, the Commission on Elections shall call a special election to be held within sixty days after the vacancy occurs to elect the Member to serve the unexpired term.

SEC. 6. The Batasang Pambansa 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. However, it may be called to session at any time by the President to consider such subjects or legislation as he may designate;

SEC. 7. (1) The Batasang Pambansa shall, by a majority vote of all its Members, elect its Speaker from the Members thereof. It shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.

(2) A majority of all the Members of the Batasang Pambansa 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 such manner, and under such penalties, as the Batasang Pambansa may provide.

(3) The Batasang Pambansa 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, but if the penalty is suspension, this shall not exceed sixty days.

(4) The Batasang Pambansa shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may, in its judgment, effect 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.

SEC. 8. (1) Unless otherwise provided by law, each Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall receive an annual salary of sixty thousand pesos. The Speaker of the Batasang Pambansa shall receive an annual salary of seventy-five thousand pesos. No increase in salary shall take effect until after the expiration of the term of the Members of the Batasang Pambansa approving such increase.

(2) The records and books of accounts of the Batasang Pambansa shall be open to the public in accordance with law, and such books shall be audited by the Commission on Audit which shall publish annually the itemized expendi tures for each Member.

SEC. 9. A Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest during his attendance at its sessions, and in going to and returning from the same; but the Batasang Pambansa shall surrender the Member involved to the custody of the law within twenty-four hours after its adjournment for a recess or for its next session, otherwise such privilege shall cease upon its failure to do so. A Member shall not be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Batasan or in any committee thereof.

SEC. 10. A Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall not hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, during his tenure except that of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Member of the Cabinet or the Executive Committee, or Deputy Minister. Neither shall he, during the term for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased while he was a Member of the Batasang Pambansa.

SEC. 11. No Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall appear as counsel before any court without appellate jurisdiction, before any court in any civil case wherein the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof is the adverse party, or in any criminal case wherein any officer or employee of the Government is accused of an offense committed in relation to his office, or before any administrative body. Neither shall he, directly or indirectly be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation, during his term of office. He shall not accept employment to intervene in any cause or matter where he may be called to act on account of his office.

SEC. 12. (1) There shall be a question hour at least once a month or as often as the Rules of the Batasang Pambansa may provide, which shall be included in its agenda, during which the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister or any Minister may be required to appear and answer questions and interpellation by Members of the Batasang Pambansa. Written questions shall be submitted to the Speaker at least three days before a scheduled question hour. Interpellations shall not be limited to the written questions, but may cover matters related thereto. The agenda shall specify the subjects of the question hour. When the security of the State so requires and the President so states in writing, the question hour shall be conducted in executive session.

(2) The Batasang Pambansa 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.

SEC. 13. (1) The Batasang Pambansa may withdraw its confidence from the Prime Minister by a majority vote of all its Members. The motion for a vote of no confidence shall be calendared for debate if it is signed by at least one-fifth of the Members of the Batasang Pambansa. No such motion shall be debated and voted upon until after the lapse of seven days after its submission.

Within ten days from receipt of the written advice of the approval of the motion of no confidence, the President may submit a nominee for a Prime Minister to be elected by the Batasang Pambansa.

(2) The Prime Minister may advise the President in writing to dissolve the Batasang Pambansa whenever the need arises for a popular vote of confidence on fundamental issues, but not on a matter involving his own personal integrity. Whereupon, the President may dissolve the Batasang Pambansa not earlier than seven nor later than fourteen days from his receipt of the advice, and call for an election on a date set by him which shall not be earlier than forty-five nor later than sixty days from the date of such dissolution. However, no dissolution of the Batasang Pambansa shall take place within eighteen months immediately preceding a regular election of the Batasang Pambansa or within eighteen months immediately following such election, or during the pendency of impeachment proceedings against the President, or when the powers of the President are exercised by the Executive Committee or the Speaker. The Batasang Pambansa shall not be dissolved oftener than once every twelve (12) months.

SEC. 14. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, no treaty shall he valid and effective unless concurred in by a majority of all the Members of the Batasang Pambansa.

(2) The Batasang Pambansa, by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.

SEC. 15. In times of war or other national emergency, the Batasang Pambansa 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 Batasang Pambansa, such powers shall cease upon its next adjournment.

SEC. 16. (1) The Prime Minister shall submit to the Batasang Pambansa within thirty 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 the Batasang Pambansa shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other departments and agencies.

(4) A special appropriations bill shall specify the purpose for which it is intended, and shall be supported by funds actually available as certified to by the National Treasurer, or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposal included therein.

(5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker, 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 appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.

(6) If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Batasang Pambansa shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriations law for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed re-enacted and shall remain in force and effect until the general appropriations bill is passed by the Batasang Pambansa.

SEC. 17. (1) The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The Batasang Pambansa shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.

(2) The Batasang Pambansa may by law authorize the President 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.

(3) Charitable institutions, churches, parsonages or convents appurtenant thereto, mosques, and non-profit cemeteries, and all lands, buildings, and improvements actually, directly, and exclusively used for religious or charitable purposes shall be exempt from taxation.

(4) No law granting any tax exemption shall be passed without the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Batasang Pambansa.

SEC. 18 (1) No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.

(2) No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, paid, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium.

SEC. 19. (1) Every bill shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof.

(2) No bill shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to the 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.

SEC. 20. (1) Every bill passed by the Batasang Pambansa shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same, he shall sign it; otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with his objections to the Batasang Pambansa. The bill may be reconsidered by the Batasang Pambansa and, if approved by two-thirds of all its Members, shall become a law. The President shall act on every bill passed by the Batasang Pambansa within thirty days after the date of receipt thereof; otherwise it shall become a law as if he had signed it.

(2) The President shall have the power to veto any particular item or items in an appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to which he does not object.

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