Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution provides:
The Senate shall be composed of twenty-four Senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law.
It is worthy to note that the composition of the Senate is smaller in number as compared to the House of Representatives. The members of this chamber are elected at large by the entire electorate. The rationale for this rule intends to make the Senate a training ground for national leaders and possibly a springboard for the presidency. It follows also that the Senator, having a national rather than only a district constituency, will have a broader outlook of the problems of the country, instead of being restricted by narrow viewpoints and interests. With such perspective, the Senate is likely to be more circumspect, or at least less impulsive, than the House of Representatives.
Qualifications to Become Senators
The qualifications for membership in the Senate are expressly stated in Section 3, Art. VI of the Constitution as follows:
No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.
It is worthy to note that the age is fixed at 35 and must be possessed on the day of the elections, that is, when the polls are opened and the votes cast, and not on the day of the proclamation of the winners by the board of canvassers.
With regard to the residence requirement, it was ruled in the case of Lim v. Pelaez that it must be the place where one habitually resides and to which he, after absence, has the intention of returning.
The enumeration laid down by the Constitution is exclusive under the Latin principle of expressio unius est exclusio alterius. This means that Congress cannot anymore add additional qualifications other than those provided by the Constitution.
Only the Senate has the power to approve, via a two-thirds supermajority, or denounce treaties, and the power to try and convict, via a two-thirds supermajority, an impeached official.
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The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty (250) members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per cent (20%) of the total number of representatives including those under the party list.
A Member of the House of Representatives should be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five (25) years of age, able to read and write, and, except the party list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately proceeding the day of the election.
The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years, and shall serve for no more than three consecutive terms.
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Composition of the Provincial Board
- Vice governor, who serves as presiding officer
- Elected regular members
- President of the provincial chapter of Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas
- President of the provincial chapter of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation
- President of the provincial chapter of federation of municipal and component city councils
- 3 sectoral representatives: 1 from among women, 1 from agricultural or industrial workers, and 1 from any of the following: urban poor, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities
Powers and Responsibilities
- Enacting ordinances and resolutions to appropriate funds for the programs and projects of the province
- Enact annual and supplemental appropriations of the provincial government
- Approve and pass ordinances and resolutions necessary for the function of the provincial government
- Grant franchises and approve permits and licenses
Sources: Local Government Code of 1991; Task and Responsibilities Checklist issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)