REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

General Information | Electoral System | Last Elections | Presidency of the Parliament

GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Parliament: Kongreso
Congress
Structure: Bicameral
Chamber: Senado - Senate
President: Ernesto M. Maceda (M)
Secretary general: Lorenzo E. Leynes, Jr. (M)
Members: 24
directly elected
Percentage of women: 17 %
Term: 6 years
Last renewal: 08 May 1995
Address: Senate of the Philippines
GSIS Complex, Roxas Blvd
PASAY CITY
Tel.: (632) 552 6795, 552 6601 to 80 extension 6130 to 6132
Cable: Senate, Manila
Telex: 40667 SENATE PM
Fax: (632) 552 6794
Affiliation to IPU: Yes
Affiliation dates: 1927-1938
1947-1973
1979-1986
1987

ELECTORAL SYSTEM

Constituencies:
One multi-member (24 seats) national constituency.

Voting system:
Direct simple majority vote.
No Senator may serve for more than two consecutive (six-year) terms.
Vacancies arising between general elections are filled through by-elections.
Voting is compulsory.

Voter requirements:
- age: 18 years
- Philippine citizenship
- residence in the country for at least one year and in home constituency for at least six months immediately preceding election day
- disqualifications: insanity, adjudged incompetence, conviction for crime involving disloyalty to government or against national security


Eligibility:
Qualified electors
- age: 35 years
- Philippine citizenship by birth
- literacy
- residence in the country for at least two years immediately preceding the poll
- ineligibility: bribery of voters or election officials, terrorist action, exceeding campaign expenses ceiling, prohibited financial dealings

Incompatibilities:
- any other office or employment in the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries
- legal counsel (in courts, electoral tribunals or administrative bodies)
- government contractor

Candidacy requirements:
- candidatures by parties or independents; must be submitted to Commission on Elections at least 90 days before polling

LAST ELECTIONS
Date(s) of elections / renewal
08 May 1995

Purpose of elections
Elections were held for one-half (12) of the Senate seats on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections
The 1995 "mid-term" congressional elections coincided with polling for 76 provincial governors and thousands of local officials. At stake were 204 Representatives' seats in the newly enlarged House and one-half (12) of those in the Senate, the winners in the latter case being the top vote-getters in the country as a whole.
For the national seats, the ruling Laban-Lakas coalition of President of the Republic (since 1992) Fidel Ramos was the clear favorite. During the three-month campaign, the President focused on the country's economy, which had grown by a sound margin of 5,1 % in 1994 and was projected to better that in 1995. He promised further improvement in this sector and especially vigorous job-creating legislation to reduce the unemployment rate. The Administration's programme also included the continued deregulation of industry, the break-up of entrenched monopolies, tax code revisions and electoral reform. Foreign investment in the Philippines had for its part risen markedly since President Ramos had taken over.
Altogether 35 candidates (including the son of late President Ferdinand Marcos) contested the 12 Senate seats, while thousands (including Mr. Marcos' widow Imelda) vied for the House. Polling day saw a relatively high turnout but was marred by incidents of violence which had already surfaced during the campaign. The governing coalition swept to victory as certain opposition groups alleged fraud. Analysts largely attributed this outcome to President Ramos' popularity and to an anti-incumbent, anti-politician mood of the electorate, which voted generally younger and well-educated members into Congress.

Statistics
PHILIPPINES Senate

1. Results of the elections

Number of registered electors 36,398,324


2. Distribution of seats according to political group

Candidates Seats
Lakas-LDP 12 9
National People's Coalition (NPC) 8 1
People's Reform Party (PRP) 2 1
Independents 1
__
12*
*seats renewed in May 1995


3. Distribution of seats according to profession

Lawyers 10
Businessmen 3
Bureaucrats 3
Actors 3
Mass media 2
Others 3
___
24


4. Distribution of seats according to sex

Men 20
Women 4
___
24


5. Distribution of seats according to age

Under 31 years -
31 - 41 " -
42 - 51 " 8
52 - 61 " 8
62 - 71 " 7
72 - 81 " 1
___
24



PRESIDENCY OF THE PARLIAMENT

Appointment and term of office | Status | Functions

APPOINTMENT AND TERM OF OFFICE

Title:
President of the Senate

Term:
- duration: 3 years
- reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, death, dissolution of the Senate, absolute incapacity, removal

Appointment:
- elected by all Members of the Senate
- election is held during the first sitting of the session following every periodical election of Senators
- after Members' mandates are validated and after Members are sworn in

Eligibility:
- any Senator who is nominated on the floor can be candidate
- formal notification is required

Voting system:
- formal vote by voice vote or resolution - nominal vote is held if there are many candidates
- if there is only one candidate the method of voting is by voice vote or resolution
- if there is more than one candidate the majority of votes is required

Procedures / results :
- the former President or the President pro tempore presides over the Senate during the voting
- the former President or the President pro tempore supervises the voting
- the former President or the President pro tempore announces the results without any delay
- the results can be challenged

STATUS

Status:
- ranks third in the hierarchy of State
- may be called upon (after the Vice-President) to replace the Head of State in the event of the latter's absence
- the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House preside jointly the joint sittings
- represents the Senate with the public authorities
- is ex officio member of bodies outside the Parliament like the National Security Council
- represents the Senate in international bodies
- in the absence of the President, the President pro tempore can assume his/her role and functions

Board:
[none]

Material facilities:
- allowance
- office with equipment and communication facilities
- summer residence in Baguio City
- official car
- secretariat and additional staff
- body guards and military protection

FUNCTIONS

Organization of parliamentary business:
- convenes sessions
- examines the admissibility of bills and amendments
- refers texts to a committee for study
- can examine the admissibility of request for setting up committees and/or committees of enquiry, propose or decide on the setting up of such committees, according to the rules

Chairing of public sittings:
- can open sittings
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- takes disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lifts such measures
- calls for a vote, decides how it is to be carried out, verifies the voting procedure and cancels a vote in the event of irregularities
- checks the quorum
- interprets the rules or other regulations according to precedents

Special powers:
- recruits, assigns and promotes staff
- organizes the services of Parliament (can diminish or increase the number of authorised staff)
- plays a specific role in the conduct of foreign affairs or defence matters as Chairman of the Commission on Appointments
- is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Chamber

Speaking and voting rights, other functions:
- takes the floor in legislative debates leaving his chair of President
- takes part in voting, is obliged to do so when his vote is decisive
- proposes bills or amendments
- intervenes in the parliamentary oversight procedure
- can check the constitutionality aspect of a bill as well as any Senator