XI. THE SESSION
Section 69. Commencement of Daily Sessions. Daily sessions shall commence at four o'clock (4:00) in the afternoon on Mondays through Thursdays and at ten o'clock (10:00) in the morning on Fridays unless the House decides otherwise.
Section 70. Attendance in Sessions. Every Member shall be present in all sessions of the House unless prevented from doing so by sickness or other unavoidable circumstances duly reported to the House through the Secretary General.
While the House is in session, the following shall be deemed present:
- Members who are attending committee meetings as authorized by the Committee on Rules, in accordance with Section 35 hereof, upon written notification to the Secretary General by the concerned committee secretary;
- Members who are attending meetings of the Commission on Appointments;
- Members who are attending meetings of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal;
- Members who are attending meetings of bicameral conference committees; and
- Members who are on official mission as approved by the Speaker.
Section 71. Order of Business.The daily Order of Business shall be as follows:
- Roll call;
- Approval of the Journal of the previous session;
- First Reading and Referral to Committees of Bills, Proposed Resolutions, Messages, Communications, Petitions and Memorials;
- Unfinished Business;
- Business for the Day;
- Business for a Certain Date;
- Committee Reports;
- Business for Thursday and Friday;
- Bills and Joint Resolutions for Third Reading; and
- Unassigned Business.
The daily Order of Business shall be posted in the House website and, as far as practicable, sent through electronic mail to the Members one (1) hour before the commencement of session.
Section 72. Call to Order. The Speaker shall open the session by calling the House to order. At the start of every session, the National Anthem shall be sung followed by a silent prayer or by an invocation by a Member designated by the Speaker.
Section 73. Roll Call. The names of Members shall be called alphabetically by surnames upon every roll call. When two or more Members have the same surnames, the full name of each shall be called. If there are two (2) Members with the same names and surnames, their legislative districts or party-list affiliations shall also be called together with their full names.
Section 74. Quorum. A majority of all the Members of the House shall constitute a quorum. The House shall not transact business without a quorum. A Member who questions the existence of a quorum shall not leave the Session Hall until the question is resolved or acted upon, otherwise, the question shall be deemed abandoned.
Section 75. Absence of Quorum.In the absence of a quorum after the roll call, the Members present may compel the attendance of absent Members.
In all calls of the House, the doors shall be closed. Except those who are excused from attendance in accordance with Section 70 hereof, the absentees, by order of a majority of those present, shall be sent for and arrested wherever they may be found and conducted to the session hall in custody in order to secure their attendance at the session. The order shall be executed by the Sergeant-At-Arms and by such officers as the Speaker may designate. After the presence of the Members arrested is secured at the session hall, the Speaker shall determine the conditions for their discharge. Members who voluntarily appear shall be admitted immediately to the session hall and shall report to the Secretary General to have their presence recorded.
Section 76. Automatic Call of The House. When results of the voting on a question shows the absence of a quorum and a Member calls the attention of the House to this fact, there shall be a call of the House to compel attendance of absent Members who shall be given the opportunity to vote unless the House adjourns.
If those voting on the question and those who are present but abstain from voting should, together, constitute a majority of the House, the Speaker shall declare that a quorum is present, and pending questions shall be resolved as the majority of those voting shall decide. Thereupon, further proceedings under the call shall be dispensed with.
Section 77. Motion to Adjourn Vacates Call. At any time after the roll call is completed, a motion to adjourn shall be in order and, if approved by a majority of those present, all proceedings under the preceding section shall be vacated.
Section 78. Approval of the Journal. The Journal shall be submitted to the House for approval. Prior to approval, the Journal shall be read in full unless copies thereof have been distributed to the Members. Upon approval, the Journal shall be posted in the House website and, as far as practicable, sent to the Members through electronic mail. The Journal for the last day of a regular or special session shall be approved in the manner determined by the House.
Section 79. Calendar of Business. The Calendar of Business shall consist of the following:
- Unfinished Business. This is business being considered by the House at the time of its last adjournment. Its consideration shall be resumed until it is disposed of.
The Unfinished Business at the end of a session shall be resumed at the commencement of the next session as if no adjournment has taken place. At the end of the term of a Congress, all unfinished business are deemed terminated.
- Business for the Day. These are bills, resolutions and other measures set on the Calendar for the Day by the Committee on Rules. They shall be considered, as far as practicable, in the order in which they are listed in the Calendar and after the Unfinished Business.
- Business for a Certain Date. This is business set for consideration on a certain date. Measures shall be considered in chronological order until disposed of on the date set and on subsequent days unless the continuation of the consideration of any business therein included is set for another day. No business in this Calendar shall be set for consideration unless it has been placed therein two (2) session days prior to such consideration.
- Business for Thursday and Friday. Bills of local application shall be included in the Calendar for Thursday and Friday. Such bills shall be arranged and considered in the order set by the Committee on Rules. No local bill shall be set for consideration unless it has been placed in this Calendar two (2) session days prior to such consideration.
- Bills and Joint Resolutions on Third Reading. Bills and Joint Resolutions shall be
submitted to final vote by nominal voting after printed copies thereof in final form have
been distributed to the Members at least three (3) days prior to the final vote thereon
except when the President certifies to the necessity of their immediate enactment to
meet a public calamity or emergency.
- Unassigned Business. Bills, resolutions, and other measures reported out by the committees but not calendared for Second Reading by the Committee on Rules may be included in the Calendar of Unassigned Business. Any business included in this Calendar may be set for consideration on motion of a Member with the unanimous approval of the House: Provided, That it shall be included in the Calendar of Business at least two (2) days prior to such consideration.
The Calendar shall be distributed each day of session, posted in the House website and, as far as practicable, sent through electronic mail to the Members before the commencement of session unless there is no addition to the one previously distributed, in which case a note to this effect on the Order of Business shall be sufficient.
Section 80. Voting. Every Member present shall vote on every question unless a Member inhibits from voting on account of personal or pecuniary interest therein. The names of Members who abstain, inhibit themselves or opt not to vote shall be entered in the Journal of the House.
Section 81. Sessions Open to the Public. Sessions shall be open to the public. However, when the security of the State or the dignity of the House or any of its Members are affected by any motion or petition being considered, the House may hold executive sessions.
In order not to disrupt the proceedings, occupants in the galleries shall be prohibited from using their cameras and video recorders except those authorized by the House. Cellular phones and other similar electronic devices shall be put in silent mode.
Section 82. Executive Sessions. When the House decides to hold an executive session, the Speaker shall direct the galleries and hallways to be cleared and the doors closed. Only the Secretary General, the Sergeant-at-Arms and other persons specifically authorized by the House shall be admitted to the executive session. They shall preserve the confidentiality of everything read or discussed in the session.
Section 83. Confidential Documents. The contents of confidential documents transmitted by the President or a head of a department of the Executive Department, as requested by the House, which require consideration in an executive session, shall not be revealed without leave of the House.
Section 84. Suspension, Adjournment and Cancellation of Sessions. Sessions shall not be adjourned except by direction of the House. The Speaker may declare a suspension or recess of short interval at any time.
In cases of natural calamities and other fortuitous events of such nature as to render the attendance of Members to sessions of the House or the conduct of such sessions extremely difficult or impossible, the Speaker may declare the cancellation of the conduct of sessions on any given period of time.
Section 85. Emergency Session. The House, if not in session, shall convene without need of a call within twenty-four (24) hours following the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the occurrence of any national emergency.
Section 86. Convening of the House During a Recess. The Speaker, in consultation with the Majority and Minority Leaders and their Senate counterparts, may convene the House in session at any time during a recess or between sessions to consider urgent legislative matters or concerns.
Section 87. Opening and Adjournment of Sessions. The exact hour of opening and adjournment of a session shall be entered in the Journal.
SOURCE: Committee on Rules