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Draft: Bayanihan Federalism

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Article VI: People's Initiative, Plebicite, and Referendum

SECTION 1. The Federal Republic recognizes and promotes the mechanism of people’s initiative as the means of the sovereign people to directly propose amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution, or to propose, enact, amend, or repeal laws, acts, ordinances, or resolutions passed by any legislative body.

SECTION 2. People’s initiative shall be commenced by filing with the Federal Commission on Elections a verified petition and the draft of the proposal which shall embrace only one subject expressed in the title thereof.
The proponents may avail themselves of the services of the Office of the Solicitor General or Integrated Bar of the Philippines in the drafting and processing of the proposal and the petition, free of charge.

SECTION 3. A petition for people’s initiative shall comply with the following signature requirements:
(a) A proposal to revise the Constitution shall be accompanied by the signature of voters representing at least thirty percent (30%) of the votes cast in the last preceding national elections, of which every Federated Region must be represented by at least ten percent (10%) of the signatures of such voters;
(b) A proposal to amend the Constitution shall be accompanied by the signature of voters representing at least twelve percent (12%) of the votes cast in the last preceding national elections, of which every Federated Region must be represented by at least three percent (3%) of the signatures of such voters;
(c) A proposal to enact, amend, or repeal a Federal Law shall be accompanied by the signature of voters representing at least ten percent (10%) of the votes cast in the last preceding national elections, of which every Federated Region must be represented by at least three percent (3%) of the signatures of such voters.
(d) The Federal Commission on Elections shall simultaneously verify the signatures of the voters endorsing the initiative.

SECTION 4. (a) Upon determination that the petition to enact, amend, repeal a federal law, or revise or amend the Constitution has complied with the requirements of the preceding sections, the Federal Commission on Elections shall set the date for the conduct of the plebiscite to be held not earlier than six (6) months therefrom.
(b) The Federal Commission on Elections may, on its own, refer the proposed initiative measure to the Federal Constitutional Court for advisory opinion on its constitutionality.
(c) If the Federal Constitutional Court issues a determination that the proposal does not suffer from any constitutional infirmity, the Federal Commission on Elections shall certify the measure and submit it to a plebiscite or referendum in the next succeeding national election; Provided, that the schedule is not earlier than six (6) months from such certification. If no national election is scheduled within one (1) year from the certification of the proposed measure, the Federal Commission on Elections may set the date of the plebiscite or referendum.

SECTION 5. During the period for the conduct of plebiscite or referendum, the Federal Commission on Elections shall ensure the public dissemination of information on the proposed initiative measure, which shall include the following:
(a) Production and distribution, as far as practicable, to the registered voters of pamphlets containing the title of the proposed measure, its full text, and its summary;
(b) Publication of the proposed measure and its summary in three newspapers of national circulation, and any appropriate digital platform, for at least three consecutive weeks prior to the plebiscite or referendum.
(c) Adequate time for airing of broadcast materials on the proposed measure in major national television networks and radio stations, all within two months prior to the conduct of the plebiscite or referendum, subject to proper adjustment by the Federal Commission on Elections;
(d) Holding of non-partisan people’s assembly or public forum on the proposed measure at least once in every province and highly urbanized city.

SECTION 6. A proposal to enact, amend, or repeal a federal law shall be deemed adopted if approved by a majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite or referendum; Provided, that majority of the Federated Regions also voted for its approval, as certified to by the Commission on Elections. It shall take effect fifteen (15) days from the issuance of such certification.

SECTION 7. Any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution through people’s initiative shall be in accordance with Sections 4 and 5 of Article XXI of the Constitution.

SECTION 8. No amendment or repeal of a statute adopted through people’s initiative shall be allowed within one year from its effectivity and except upon a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, voting separately.

SECTION 9. Within two (2) years from the adoption of the Constitution, every Regional Assembly shall enact the laws for the exercise of people’s initiative on matters within their respective jurisdiction; Provided, that no regional people’s initiative shall be allowed without the signature of voters representing at least ten percent (10%) of the votes cast in the preceding election in the region.

SECTION 10. The Congress shall appropriate an annual budget for people’s initiative, which shall be automatically released to the Federal Commission on Elections.

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Article VII: Legislative Department

SECTION 1. The Federal legislative power is vested in the Congress, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

The people, pursuant to the provisions on initiative, plebiscite, and referendum, may directly exercise legislative power.

SECTION 2. Every Federated Region shall be represented by at least two (2) Senators elected by the qualified voters in the Federated Region; Provided, that each region shall have the same number of senators.

SECTION 3. No person shall be elected Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, at least thirty-five (35) years of age, holder of a college degree or its equivalent, a registered voter, and domiciled in the Federated Region where he or she is to be elected for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.

SECTION 4. The term of office of the Senators shall be four (4) years and shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. They shall continue in office until their successors shall have been elected, proclaimed, and qualified.

No Senator shall serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

SECTION 5. (a) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than four hundred (400) Members unless otherwise provided by law.
(b) Sixty per centum (60%) of the Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected by plurality of votes where each single-member legislative electoral district shall have one (1) seat in the House of Representatives. Single-member legislative districts shall be apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio as may be provided by federal law.
(c) The remaining forty percent (40%) of the Members of the House of Representatives shall be voted nationwide through a system of proportional representation. Every voter shall vote for a registered political party with a closed list of nominees; Provided, that these nominees are qualified to be members of the House of Representatives. Political parties that obtain at least five percent (5%) of the valid votes cast under the proportional party representation system shall be considered elected and shall be allocated seats in proportion to the number of votes they received.
(d) For three (3) consecutive terms following the ratification of this Constitution, one half of the seats set aside for parties voted under the proportional representation system shall be reserved for labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous peoples, and fisherfolk groups, provided that they organize themselves as parties or coalitions of parties. The other half of the total seats allocated for proportional representation shall be open to all other political parties or coalitions thereof.
(e) Each single-member legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, a contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city, including those located on islands, with a population of at least five hundred thousand (500,000), or each province regardless of population shall be entitled to at least one (1) member of the House of Representatives.
(f) Within five (5) years following the return of every national census, the Congress is mandated to pass a reapportionment law or to make reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section.

SECTION 6. No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election, and holder of a college degree or its equivalent. Except for one elected through the proportional representation system, he must be a registered voter and domiciled in the district where he is to be elected for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election.

SECTION 7. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of four (4) years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election.
No member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of the service for the full term for which he was elected.

SECTION 8. Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of the Senators and the Members of the House of Representatives shall be held on the second Monday of May.

SECTION 9. In case of vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term.
In the case of representatives elected through the proportional representation system, the vacancy shall be filled based on the preferential order of names on the closed list submitted to the Federal Commission on Elections by the parties in the preceding election.

SECTION 10. The salaries of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall be fixed by law. No increase in compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the full term of all the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives approving such increase.

SECTION 11. A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six (6) years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No Member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof.

SECTION 12. All Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall, upon assumption of office, make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests. They shall notify the House concerned of a potential conflict of interest that may arise from the filing of a proposed legislation of which they are authors.

SECTION 13. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may hold any other office or employment in the government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat. Neither shall he be appointed to any office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected.

SECTION 14. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may personally appear as counsel before any court of justice or before any quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies, except when he is a party to the case. Neither shall he, during his term of office, 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 government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. He shall not intervene in any matter before any office of the government for their pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office.

SECTION 15. The Congress 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 until thirty (30) days before the opening of its next regular session, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. The President may call a special session at any time.

SECTION 16. (a) The Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives, its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its respective Members. Each House may choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.
(b) A majority of each House 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 each House may provide.
(c) Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior committed during their incumbency and, with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of all its Members, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty (60) days. Provided that each House shall comply with final and executory orders of judicial or quasi-judicial authorities imposing disciplinary sanctions on its Members.
(d) Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may, in its judgment, affect national security; and the yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth (1/5) of the Members present, be entered in the Journal. Each House shall also keep a record of its proceedings.
(e) Neither House during the sessions of the Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three (3) days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

SECTION 17. All contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall be within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Federal Electoral Court, as provided in Article IX of the Constitution.

SECTION 18. (a) There shall be a Commission on Appointments consisting of the President of the Senate as ex officio Chairperson, twelve (12) Senators and twelve (12) Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties represented therein. The Chairperson of the Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all the Members.
(b) The Commission on Appointments shall perform other functions and duties as may be provided by the Constitution.
(c) Any appointment or nomination that has been bypassed or unacted upon by the Commission on Appointments at least twice shall be deemed disapproved.

SECTION 19. The Commission on Appointments shall be constituted within thirty (30) 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 Chairperson or a majority of all its Members, to discharge such powers and functions 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.

Any witness or resource person ordered detained for contempt during inquiry may seek judicial relief when the detention is patently unlawful or when its prolonged enforcement becomes unreasonable or violates due process.

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 either House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions from the Members of Congress shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three (3) days before their scheduled appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related thereto. When the security of the Federal Republic, or the public interest or nature of testimony or disclosure to be made so requires and the President so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session.

SECTION 23. (a) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.
(b) In the event the Congress is unable to convene due to the existence of war or national emergency, the President, as Commander-in-Chief, shall exercise all powers necessary to resolve the situation. When the Congress is able to convene, it may, through a resolution, revoke such exercise of powers by the President.
(c) 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 the Congress 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 the public debt and private bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may concur with or propose amendments to such bills.

SECTION 25. (a) The Congress may not increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Federal Government as specified in the budget. The form, content, and manner of preparation of the budget shall be prescribed by law.
(b) 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.
(c) The procedure in approving appropriations for the Congress shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other departments and agencies.
(d) A special appropriations bill shall specify the purpose for which it is intended, and shall be supported by funds actually available as certified by the National Treasurer, or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposal therein.
(e) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justices of the Federal Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court and the Federal Electoral Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the General Appropriations Act for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.
(f) Discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers and subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by law.
(g) If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress 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 Congress.

SECTION 26. (a) Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one (1) subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof.
(b) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three (3) readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President 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.
(c) There shall be a Bicameral Conference Committee composed of Members chosen by each House that shall reconcile conflicting provisions of the bill passed by each House. The reconciled version shall be subject to vote by each House in accordance with their respective rules.

SECTION 27. Every bill passed by the Congress 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 House where it originated, which shall enter the objections at large in its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds (2/3) of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds (2/3) of all the Members of that House, it shall become a law. In all such cases, the votes of each House shall be determined by yeas or nays, and the names of the Members voting for or against shall be entered in its Journal. The President shall communicate his veto of any bill to the House where it originated within thirty (30) days after the date of receipt thereof, otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it; Provided that when an advisory opinion of the Constitutional Court is sought, as provided for in subparagraph (a), Section 12 of Article IX, the President shall only act on the bill within thirty (30) days from the issuance of the opinion.

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.

SECTION 28. (a) Taxation shall be uniform, equitable, and progressive.
(b) The Congress 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 within the framework of the national development program of the government.
(c) Charitable institutions, churches, temples, masajid and parsonages or convents, madaris, non-profit cemeteries, and all lands, buildings, and improvements, actually, directly, and exclusively used for religious, charitable, or educational purposes shall be exempt from taxation.
(d) No law granting any Federal tax exemption shall be passed without the concurrence of at least two-thirds (2/3) of all the Members of each House of Congress, voting separately.

SECTION 29. (a) No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.
(b) No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher, or dignitary except when such priest, preacher, minister, imam, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, law enforcement agencies or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or hospital.
(c) All money collected on any tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such purpose only. If the purpose for which a special fund was created has been fulfilled or abandoned, the balance, if any, shall be transferred to the general funds of the government.

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Article VIII: Executive Department

SECTION 1. The executive power of the Federal Republic is vested in the President.

SECTION 2. No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, holder of a college degree or its equivalent and on the day of the election, at least forty (40) years of age, and domiciled in the Philippines for at least ten (10) years immediately preceding such election.

SECTION 3. There shall be a Vice President who shall have the same qualifications and term of office as the President.
The Vice President shall be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet. The appointment shall not require confirmation.

SECTION 4. (a) The President and the Vice President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of four (4) years, which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon on the same date four (4) years thereafter. Both the President and Vice President shall be eligible for reelection to one (1) term.
(b) A person who has succeeded to the office of the President and has served as such for at least two (2) years and has been elected as President for a fresh term shall be ineligible for election to the same office at any other time.
(c) The President and the Vice President shall be elected as a team. A vote for the presidential candidate shall be counted as a vote for his vice presidential candidate.
(d) The returns of every election for President and Vice President, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each Federated Region, shall be transmitted to the Congress, directed to the President of the Senate. Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the President of the Senate shall, not later than thirty (30) days after the day of the election, open all certificates in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session, and the Congress, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law, canvass the votes.
(e) The person having the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed elected, but in case two or more shall have an equal and highest number of votes, one of them shall forthwith be chosen by the vote of a majority of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress, voting jointly.
(f) The Congress shall promulgate its rules for the canvassing of the certificates of votes.
(g) The Federal Electoral Court, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President and Vice President, as provided for in Section 18, Article IX of the Constitution.

SECTION 5. Before they enter on the execution of their office, the President, the Vice President, or the Acting President shall take the following oath or affirmation:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President (or Vice President or Acting President) of the Federal Republic of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God.”
(In case of affirmation, last sentence will be omitted.)

SECTION 6. The President shall have an official residence. The salaries of the President and Vice President shall be fixed by law and shall not be decreased during their tenure. No increase in compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the term of the incumbent during which such increase was approved. They shall not receive during their tenure any other emolument from the government or any other source.

SECTION 7. (a) The election for President and Vice President shall, unless otherwise provided by law, be held every second Monday of May and every four (4) years thereafter.
(b) If the President-elect fails to qualify, the Vice President-elect shall act as President until the President-elect shall have qualified.
(c) If at the beginning of their term, the President shall have died or shall have become permanently incapacitated, the Vice President shall become President.
(d) Where no President and Vice President shall have been elected or shall have qualified, or where both shall have died or become permanently incapacitated, the President of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall act as President until a President or a Vice President shall have been elected and qualified.
(e) The Congress shall, by law, provide for the manner in which one who is to act as President shall be selected until a President or a Vice President shall have qualified, in case of death, permanent incapacity, or inability of the officials mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

SECTION 8. (a) In case of death, permanent incapacity, removal from office, or resignation of the President, the Vice President shall become the President to serve the unexpired term. In case of death, permanent incapacity, removal from office, or resignation of both the President and Vice President, the President of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall act as President until the President or Vice President shall have been elected and qualified.
(b) The Congress shall, by law, provide who shall serve as President in case of death, permanent incapacity, or resignation of the Acting President. He shall serve until the President or the Vice President shall have been elected and qualified, and be subject to the same restrictions of powers and disqualifications as the Acting President.

SECTION 9. In case of vacancy in the Office of the Vice President, the President shall appoint a Vice President from among the Members of the Senate or House of Representatives who belong to the same political party or coalition of political parties as that of the President. The appointment shall need no confirmation by the Congress.

SECTION 10. The Congress shall, at ten o’clock in the morning of the third day after the vacancy in the offices of the President and Vice President occurs, convene in joint session in accordance with its rules without need of a call and within seven (7) days enact a law calling for a special election to elect a President and a Vice President to be held not earlier than forty-five (45) days nor later than sixty (60) days from the time of such call. The bill calling such special election shall be deemed certified under paragraph (b) Section 26, Article VII of the Constitution and shall become law upon its approval on third reading by the Congress voting jointly. Appropriations for the special election shall be charged against any current appropriations and shall be exempt from the requirements of subparagraph (d) Section 25 of Article VII of the Constitution. The convening of the Congress cannot be suspended nor the special election postponed. No special election shall be called if the vacancy occurs within eighteen (18) months before the date of the next presidential election.

SECTION 11. (a) Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
(b) Whenever a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
(c) Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall reassume the powers and duties of his office. Meanwhile, should a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit within five (5) days to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Congress shall decide the issue. For that purpose, the Congress shall convene, if it is not in session, within forty-eight (48) hours, in accordance with its rules and without need of call.
(d) If the Congress, within ten (10) days after receipt of the last written declaration or, if not in session, within twelve (12) days after it is required to assemble, determines by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of both Houses, voting separately, that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall act as the President; otherwise, the President shall continue exercising the powers and duties of his office.

SECTION 12. In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The Members of the Cabinet in charge of national security, foreign relations, and health, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the personal physician of the President shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.

SECTION 13. The President, Vice President, the Members of the Cabinet, and their Undersecretaries or Assistant Secretaries shall not, unless otherwise provided in the Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly, practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office.
The spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity, legitimate or illegitimate, within the fourth civil degree of the President shall not, during his tenure, be appointed as members of the Constitutional Commissions, the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Electoral Court, or as Secretaries, Undersecretaries, Chairpersons or Heads of bureaus or offices, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.

SECTION 14. Appointments extended by an Acting President shall remain effective, unless revoked by the elected President within ninety (90) days from his assumption or reassumption of office.

SECTION 15. Three (3) months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, the President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.

SECTION 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the Armed Forces from the rank of Major General or Rear Admiral, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him by the Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Federal Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. The

Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or boards.

The President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, whether voluntary or compulsory, but such appointments shall be effective only until after disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress.

SECTION 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices under the Federal Government. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.

SECTION 18. (a) The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, or rebellion.
(b) In case of invasion, rebellion, or lawless violence, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty (60) days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight (48) hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.
(c) The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four (24) hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without any need of a call.
(d) The Federal Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty (30) days from its filing.
(e) A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.
(f) The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion or lawless violence.
(g) During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three (3) days, otherwise, he shall be released.

SECTION 19. Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in the Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment of offenses defined by federal law or other penal legislation. He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of the Members of the Congress, voting jointly.

SECTION 20. (a) The President may contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.
(b) The Monetary Board shall, within thirty (30) days from the end of every quarter of the calendar year, submit to the Congress a complete report of its decisions on applications for loans to be contracted or guaranteed by the government or government-owned and controlled corporations which would have the effect of increasing the foreign debt, and containing other matters as may be provided by law.
(c) When requested by Congress, the President and the Monetary Board shall submit to the Senate or the House of Representatives, or any of their committees, all documents and papers relative to such foreign loans.

SECTION 21. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.

SECTION 22. The President shall submit to the Congress within thirty (30) days from the opening of every regular session, as the basis of the general appropriations bill, a budget of expenditures and sources of financing, including receipts from existing and proposed revenue measures.

SECTION 23. The President shall address the Congress at the opening of its regular session. He may also appear before it at any other time.

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Article IX: Judicial Department

SECTION 1. The judicial power shall be vested in the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Electoral Court, and in other courts as may be established by law.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government; Provided, that the Federal Constitutional Court may render advisory opinions on constitutional questions properly referred to it in accordance with Section 12 of this Article; Provided further, that the Federal Administrative Court may render advisory opinion on whether the Federal Commission on Elections has complied with the processes, procedures, and preparations relative to the conduct of the elections in accordance with subparagraph (b), Section 15 of this Article.

SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts but may not deprive the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, and the Federal Electoral Court of their respective jurisdiction over cases or matters conferred on them in the Constitution.
No law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its Members.

SECTION 3. The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy and, through the Chief Justices of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, and the Federal Electoral Court, shall have the power to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their appropriations, except the grant of additional bonuses and incentives to their officials and personnel.
Appropriations for the Judiciary shall not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year. After approval, the appropriation shall be automatically and regularly released.

SECTION 4. Subject to additional qualifications prescribed by the Constitution, all members of the Judiciary must be persons of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence.
The Congress shall prescribe the qualifications of judges of lower courts, but no person may be appointed judge thereof unless he is a citizen of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Bar.

SECTION 5. (a) The Members of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court and the Federal Electoral Court shall serve for a term of twelve (12) years or until they reach the age of seventy (70) years, whichever comes first, or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. All other justices of the collegiate courts and judges of lowers courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy (70) years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office.
(b) No law increasing or decreasing the jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, and the Federal Electoral Court shall be enacted without their advice and consent.
(c) Decisions, orders, and resolutions of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, and the Federal Electoral Court, shall be final and executory.
(d) The salary of the Chief Justices and Associate Justices of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, and the Federal Electoral Court, and the salary of the judges of lower courts shall be fixed by law. During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased. Neither shall their retirement and other benefits be reduced.
(e) The Members of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Electoral Court, and the other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative function.

SECTION 6. The Federal Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and eight ( 8 ) Associate Justices of whom three (3) including the Chief Justice, shall be appointed by the President, three (3) Associate Justices by the Commission on Appointments, and three (3) by the Federal Constitutional Court en banc. Each appointing authority may adopt its own selection process. All such appointments shall not require confirmation. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety (90) days from the occurrence thereof by the same appointing authority; Provided, that no appointment shall be made three (3) months before a Presidential election up to the end of the term of the incumbent President.

SECTION 7. No person shall be appointed member of the Federal Supreme Court, unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least fifty (50) years of age on the date of his appointment, and must have been for fifteen (15) years or more, a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.
All cases and administrative matters before the Court shall be decided en banc with the concurrence of at least five (5) of its members.

SECTION 8. The Federal Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
(a) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases:
1) Involving conflicts between branches and agencies within the Federal Government, conflicts between the Federal Government and the Federated Regions, and conflicts between and among the Federated Regions;
2) Involving ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; and
3) Involving petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto.
(b) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, cases involving:
1) Final judgments and orders of lower courts except those within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Constitutional Court, Federal Administrative Court, or of the Federal Electoral Court;
2) The jurisdiction of any lower court;
3) The legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation there to;
4) Criminal offenses in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher; and
5) Error or question of law.
(c) Assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed six (6) months without the consent of the judge concerned.
(d) Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice.
(e) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, except the Federal Constitutional Court, Federal Administrative Court, and Federal Electoral Court, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.
(f) Subject to the power of Congress to legislate, the Federal Supreme Court may also promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights.
(g) To appoint all justices and judges of the lower courts upon recommendation by the Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council.
(h) To appoint all officials and employees of the Federal Supreme Court and of all the lower courts in accordance with the Civil Service Law.
(i) Exercise administrative supervision over lower courts and the personnel thereof. This includes the power to dismiss and suspend its officials and employees, justices of the lower collegiate courts, and judges of lower courts, upon recommendation of the Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council.

SECTION 9. The Federal Constitutional Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and eight ( 8 ) Associate Justices of whom three (3), including the Chief Justice, shall be appointed by the President, three (3) shall be appointed by the Commission on Appointments, and three (3) shall be appointed by the Federal Supreme Court. All such appointments shall not require confirmation. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety (90) days from the occurrence thereof by the same appointing authority; Provided, that no appointment shall be made three (3) months before a Presidential election up to the end of the term of the incumbent President.

SECTION 10. No person shall be appointed Member of the Federal Constitutional Court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a recognized expert in constitutional law, at least fifty (50) years of age at the time of his appointment, and for not less than fifteen (15) years, a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.
It shall sit en banc, and decide all cases and matters before it with the concurrence of at least five (5) members.

SECTION 11. The Federal Constitutional Court shall have the following powers:
(a) Exercise exclusive and original jurisdiction over:
1) Disputes involving the constitutionality of a law, treaty, international or executive agreement, including those involving the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations, administrative issuances by the Federal Government or any of its departments and agencies, as well as the laws of the legislative assemblies of the Federated Regions, and the acts and issuances of their executive departments;
2) Any dispute or matter involving questions of constitutionality.
(b) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases involving writ of habeas corpus, writ of amparo, writ of habeas data, and writ of kalikasan.
(c) Hear and decide impeachment cases; Provided, that a judgment of conviction must be concurred in by at least six (6) members. However, when a member of the Constitutional Court is impeached, the Federal Administrative Court shall act as the Impeachment Court. A judgment of conviction must be concurred in by at least six (6) of its members.
(d) Appoint all officials and employees of the Federal Constitutional Court in accordance with the Civil Service Law and exercise administrative supervision over all its personnel, including the power to dismiss and suspend its officials and employees upon recommendation of the Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council.
(e) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure before it.
(f) Exercise such other functions as may be conferred upon it by law.

SECTION 12. The Federal Constitutional Court may, with leave, render advisory opinion when sought by:
(a) The President, Senate President, or Speaker of the House of Representatives on the constitutionality of any enrolled bill of paramount importance; Provided, that the favorable opinion of the Court notwithstanding, and when such bill has become a law, any citizen of the Philippines may still question the validity if he claims it is unconstitutional as applied to him;
(b) The Chairman of the Federal Commission on Elections on the constitutionality of any proposal to amend or revise the Constitution or enact, amend, or repeal any federal law by people’s initiative.

SECTION 13. The Federal Administrative Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and eight ( 8 ) Associate Justices. The Chief Justice and three (3) Associate Justices shall be appointed by the President, three (3) Associate Justices shall be appointed by the Commission on Appointments, and three (3) by the Federal Supreme Court en banc. All such appointments shall not require confirmation. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety (90) days from the occurrence thereof by the same appointing authority; Provided, that no appointment shall be made three (3) months before a Presidential election up to the end of the term of the incumbent President.

SECTION 14. No person shall be appointed Member of the Federal Administrative Court, unless he is a natural-born Filipino citizen, at least fifty (50) years of age at the time of his appointment, a recognized expert in administrative law, and must have been for at least fifteen (15) years, a judge of a lower court, or engaged in the practice of law.
In all cases and matters brought before it, the Federal Administrative Court in accordance with its rules, may sit en banc or in divisions of three (3) justices each, and decisions shall be reached by concurrence of a majority of the court en banc or the division, as the case may be.

SECTION 15. (a) The Federal Administrative Court shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction to review on appeal or certiorari, in accordance with its rules, the decisions, judgments, or final orders or resolutions of the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Federal Commission on Elections, the Federal Commission on Audit, the Federal Commission on Human Rights, the Federal Ombudsman Commission, and the Federal Competition Commission, and of all administrative and quasi-judicial bodies in the Federal Republic.
(b) It shall, with leave, render an advisory opinion, if sought by any political party to determine whether the Federal Commission on Elections has complied with the processes, procedures, and preparations relative to the conduct of any election, which may materially affect its results.
(c) It shall appoint all officials and employees of the Federal Administrative Court in accordance with the Civil Service Law and exercise administrative supervision over all its personnel. This includes the power to dismiss and suspend its officials and employees upon recommendation of the Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council.
(d) It shall promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure before it.
(e) It shall exercise such other powers and functions as may be conferred upon it by law.

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SECTION 16. There shall be a Federal Electoral Court composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen (14) Associate Justices. The Chief Justice and four (4) Associate Justices of the Federal Electoral Court shall be appointed by the President, five (5) Associate Justices by the Commission on Appointments, and five (5) by the Federal Constitutional Court sitting en banc. All such appointments shall not require confirmation. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety (90) days from the occurrence thereof by the same appointing authority; Provided, that no appointment shall be made three (3) months before a Presidential election up to the end of the term of the incumbent President.

SECTION 17. No person shall be appointed Member of the Federal Electoral Court unless he is a natural-born Filipino citizen, at least fifty (50) years of age at the time of his appointment, an election law expert, must have been a judge of lower courts or engaged in the practice of law for at least fifteen (15) years, and must not have been a candidate for any elective position in the immediately preceding election.
In all cases and matters brought before it, the Federal Electoral Court, in accordance with the rules it will promulgate, may sit en banc or in divisions of three (3) justices each, and decisions shall be reached by concurrence of a majority of the court en banc or the division, as the case may be.

SECTION 18. The Federal Electoral Court shall have the following powers:
(a) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of the President, Vice President, Members of both Houses of Congress; Provided, that contests relating to the President and Vice President shall be decided by the Federal Electoral Court en banc; Provided further, that contests relating to the Members of Congress shall be heard and decided by the Federal Electoral Court in division and proceedings shall be held within the region where the case arose. Decisions of the Federal Electoral Court shall be reached by the concurrence of a majority of the Court en banc or in Division as the case may be. Any decision of the Court in Division may be elevated to the Court en banc only on questions of law in accordance with its rules of procedure.
(b) Exercise exclusive jurisdiction to review, on appeal or certiorari, all decisions, resolutions, and orders of:
1) Trial courts of proper jurisdiction in all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of other elective regional, provincial, city, municipal, and barangay officials; and
2) The Commission on Elections with respect to all questions affecting elections, including the qualifications of candidates and political parties, and other pre-election controversies, and the conduct of plebiscites and referenda;
(c) Promulgate its own rules of procedure; and
(d) Perform other functions as may be established by law.

SECTION 19. (a) There shall be a Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council composed of the following ex-officio members:
1) Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court;
2) Chief Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court;
3) Chief Justice of the Federal Administrative Court;
4) Chief Justice of the Federal Electoral Court;
5) Chairperson of the Federal Ombudsman Commission;
6) Court Administrator of the Supreme Court;
7) A representative from the Senate belonging to the Minority;
8 ) A representative from the House of Representatives belonging to the Majority;
9) Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission;
10) Chairperson of the Commission on Audit; and the
11) Secretary of Justice;
(b) The Council shall have the following regular members:
1) A representative from and designated by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines;
2) A law professor designated by the Philippine Association of Law Schools;
3) A representative from and designated by the Association of Generals and Flag Officers;
and
4) A retired member of the Federal Supreme Court to be designated by the Association of
the Retired Justices of the Federal Supreme Court.
(c) The regular members shall serve for a term of four (4) years without reappointment and their appointment shall not require confirmation. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety (90) days from the occurrence thereof by the same appointing authority.
(d) The Chairmanship of the Council shall be rotated every two (2) years in the following order beginning with the Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court, the Chief Justice of the Federal Administrative Court, and the Chief Justice of the Federal Electoral Court.

SECTION 20. There shall be an Executive Board which shall provide administrative and operational support to the Council. It shall be composed of a Secretary and two (2) Deputy Secretaries. One Deputy Secretary shall be in charge of the Appointments Committee that will screen the qualifications of all the candidates for all the lower courts. The other Deputy Secretary shall be in charge of the Disciplinary Committee that will investigate the complaints against the officers and employees of the Judiciary.

SECTION 21. The budget of the Council shall be included in the budget of the Judiciary. The regular members shall receive such emoluments as may be determined by the ex officio members of the Council, in accordance with law.

SECTION 22. The Council shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) To conduct a thorough search and investigation to find the most qualified candidates for the vacant positions for all justices and judges of the lower courts;
(b) To recommend to the proper appointing authority the promotion or transfer of justices and judges;
(c) To investigate disciplinary cases filed against the members, officials, and employees of the Judiciary. It shall submit its findings to the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, or the Federal Electoral Court which shall have final disciplinary authority over their respective officials and employees;
(d) Promulgate its own rules and regulations and publish the same; and
(e) Perform other powers and functions as may be prescribed by law.

SECTION 23. The Council shall decide by a majority vote of all the members sitting en banc. Proxy voting shall not be allowed.

SECTION 24. The conclusions of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, and the Federal Electoral Court in any case submitted to it for decision shall be reached in consultation before the writing of the opinion of the Court. A certification to this effect, signed by the Chief Justice, shall be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case and served upon the parties. Any Member who took no part, or dissented, or abstained from a decision or resolution must state the reason therefor. The same requirements shall be observed by all lower collegiate courts.

SECTION 25. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.
No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis therefor.

SECTION 26. (a) All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four (24) months from date of filing for the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, and the Federal Electoral Court and, unless reduced by the Federal Supreme Court, twelve (12) months for all lower collegiate courts and, in the case of all other lower courts, three (3) months from the date that cases are submitted for decision or resolution.
(b) Upon the expiration of the corresponding period, a certification to this effect signed by the Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, or the Federal Electoral Court, or the presiding justice or judge of the lower court shall forthwith be issued, and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case or matter, and served upon the parties. The certification shall state why a decision or resolution has not been rendered or issued within said period.
(c) Despite the expiration of the applicable mandatory period, the court, without prejudice to such responsibility as may have been incurred in consequence thereof, shall decide or resolve the case or matter submitted thereto for determination, without further delay.

SECTION 27. The Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Administrative Court, and the Federal Electoral Court shall, within thirty (30) days from the opening of each regular session of the Congress, submit to the President and the Congress an annual report on the operations and activities of the Judiciary.

SECTION 28. There shall be at least one (1) Federal Court of Appeals in each Federated Region, at least one (1) Federal District Trial Court in constituent cities and provinces of Federated Regions, and such other lower courts as may be necessary for the effective administration and speedy delivery of justice.

SECTION 29. No lower court, whether federal or regional, shall be created without the recommendation of the Supreme Court.

Subject to the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council, the Supreme Court shall appoint the all the judges of the lower courts and the justices of the collegiate courts.

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