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D. Quorum and voting majorities

1. SESSIONS

a. Sessions

1) Regular Sessions

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. (Section 15, Article VI, Ibid.)

2) Special Sessions

When special sessions may be called:

1) The President may call a special session at any time. (Section 15, Article VI, Ibid.)

2) Congress may call a special election in case of vacancies of the Office of the President and Vice-President. (Section 10, Article VII, Ibid.)

3) Congress may convene and by a 2/3 vote of both houses, voting separately, determine whether the President is able to discharge the powers and duties of his office. (Paragraph 4, Section 11, Article VII, Ibid.)

4) If not in session, Congress shall, within twenty-four hours following the proclamation of Martial Law or suspension of writ of habeas corpus, convene to vote, voting jointly, whether to revoke or extend the same. (Section 18, Article VII, Ibid.)

In a special session, the Congress may “consider general legislation or only such as he (President) may designate.” (Section 9, Article VI of the Constitution.) In a regular session, the power Congress to legislate is not circumscribed except by the limitations imposed by the organic law.

b. Quorum

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 such House may provide. (Section 16[2], Article VI, Ibid.)

1) Majority, defined

Majority of each House – can mean only majority of the members of each House, and the number of said members cannot be reduced upon any artificial or imaginary basis not authorized by the context of the Constitution itself or by the sound processes of reason. (Avelino v. Cuenco, En Banc, G.R. No. L-2821, 04 March 1949)

c. Voting of the Senate and House and Representative

1) Separately

1) Whenever there is a vacancy in the Office of the Vice-President during the term for which he was elected, the President shall nominate a Vice-President from among the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who shall assume office upon confirmation by a majority vote of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress, voting separately. (Section 9, Article VI, Ibid.)

2) Congress may convene and by a 2/3 vote of both houses, voting separately, determine whether the President is able to discharge the powers and duties of his office. (Paragraph 4, Section 11, Article VII, Ibid.)

3) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war. (Section 23[1], Article VI, Ibid.)

4) Proclamation of president-elect after national elections. (Paragraph 5, Section 4, Article VII, Ibid.)

5) Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members. (Section 1, Article XVII, Ibid.)

2) Jointly

1) Revoking or extending Proclamation of Martial Law; (Section 18, Article VII, Ibid.)

2) Revoking or extending of suspension of writ of habeas corpus. (Ibid.)

2. OFFICERS

a. Election of Senate President and Speaker of the House

The Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its respective Members. (Section 16[1], Article VI, Ibid.)

1) Election of other officers

Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary. (Paragraph 2, Section 16[1], Article VI, Ibid.)

3. JOURNAL, RECORDS, BOOOKS OF ACCOUNTS

a. Journal of proceedings

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 of the Members present, be entered in the Journal. (Section 16[4], Article VI, Ibid.)

b. Record of proceedings

Each House shall also keep a Record of its proceedings. (Paragraph 2, Section 16[4], Article VI, Ibid.)

c. Records and books of accounts

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 20, Article VI, 1987 Constitution)

4. ADJOURNMENT

Neither House during the sessions of the Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting. (Section 16[5], Article VI, Ibid.)

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