Article VIII – The National Assembly | 1973 Philippine Constitution

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Section 1. The Legislative power shall be vested in a National Assembly.

Section 2. The National Assembly shall be composed of as many Members as may be provided by law to be appointed among the provinces, representative districts, and cities in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. Each district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Representative districts or provinces already created or existing at the time of the ratification of this Constitution shall have at least one Member each.

Section 3.

  1. The Members of the National Assembly shall be elected by the qualified electors in their respective districts for 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 National Assembly is dissolved, the newly elected Members shall serve the unexpired portion of the term from the time the Prime Minister convenes the Assembly, which shall not be later than thirty days immediately following the elections.

Section 4. No person shall be a Member of the National Assembly 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 district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereon for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.

Section 5.

  1. Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of Members of the National Assembly shall be held on the second Monday of May every six years thereafter.

  2. In case a vacancy arises in the National Assembly one year 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.


Section 6. The National Assembly 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 until thirty days before the opening of its next regular session, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. It may recess for periods not exceeding thirty days each, and not more than ninety days during the year. However, it may be called to session at any time by the Prime Minister to consider such subjects or legislation as he may designate.

Section 7.

  1. The National Assembly, 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.

    The election of the President and the Prime Minister shall precede all other business following the election of the Speaker.

  2. A majority of the National Assembly 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 National Assembly may provide.

  3. The National Assembly may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and with 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 National Assembly 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 of the Members present, be entered in the Journal.

Section 8.

  1. Unless otherwise provided by law, each Member of the National Assembly shall receive an annual salary of sixty thousand pesos. The Speaker of the National Assembly 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 National Assembly approving such increase.

  2. The records and books of accounts of the National Assembly 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 expenditures for each Member.


Section 9. A Member of the National Assembly 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 National Assembly shall surrender the Member involved to the custody of the law within twenty-four hours after its adjournment for a recess or its next session, otherwise such privilege shall cease upon its failure to do so. A Member shall not be questioned or held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Assembly or in any committee thereof.

Section 10. A Member of the National Assembly 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 or Member of the Cabinet. Neither shall he be appointed to any civil office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased while he was a Member of the National Assembly.

Section 11. No Member of the National Assembly shall appear as counsel before any court inferior to a court with appellate jurisdiction, before any court in any civil case wherein the government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof is the adverse party, 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 intervene in any matter before any office of the government for his pecuniary benefit.

Section 12.

  1. There shall be a question hour at least once a month or as often as the rules of the National Assembly may provide, which shall be included in its agenda, during which the Prime Minister or any Minister may be required to appear and answer questions and interpellations by Members of the National Assembly. 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 Prime Minister so states in writing, the question hour shall be conducted in executive session.
  2. The National Assembly 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 such inquiries shall be respected.

Section 13.

  1. The National Assembly may withdraw its confidence from the Prime Minister only by electing a successor by a majority vote of all its Members. No motion for the election of such successor shall be debated and voted upon until after the lapse of three days from the submittal of such motion.

  2. The Prime Minister may advise the President in writing to dissolve the National Assembly 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 shall dissolve the National Assembly not earlier than five days nor later than ten days from his receipt of the advice, and call for an election on a date set by the Prime Minister which shall not be earlier than forty-five days nor later than sixty days from the date of such dissolution. However, no dissolution of the National Assembly shall take place within nine months immediately preceding a regular election or within nine months immediately following any general election.

  3. In case of dissolution of the National Assembly or the termination of its regular term, the incumbent Prime Minister and the Cabinet shall continue to conduct the affairs of government until the new National Assembly is convoked and a Prime Minister is elected and has qualified.

Section. 14.

  1. Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, no treaty shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by a majority of all the Members of the National Assembly.

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

Section 15. In times of war or other national emergency, the National Assembly may by law authorize the Prime Minister, 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 National Assembly, such powers shall cease upon its next adjournment.

Section 16.

  1. The Prime Minister shall submit to the National Assembly 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 National Assembly 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 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 saving in other items of their respective appropriations.

  6. If, by the end of the fiscal year, the National Assembly 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 National Assembly.

Section 17.

  1. The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The National Assembly shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.

  2. The National Assembly may by law authorize the Prime Minister 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, personages 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 National Assembly.

Section 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.

Section 19.

  1. Every 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.

  2. No bill except those of local application shall be calendared without the prior recommendation of the Cabinet.

Section 20.

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

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