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XVII. QUESTION HOUR
Section 123. Appearance Upon Initiative of Department Head of the Executive Department. When a department head desires to appear before the House on any matter pertaining to the concerned department, the department head may, with the consent of the President of the Philippines, notify the House through the Speaker, who, with the concurrence of the House, may set the date and hour of the appearance.
Section 124. Appearance Upon Request of the House.A department head may be requested to appear before the House and be heard on any matter pertaining to the concerned department. The request shall state specifically the questions to be answered and the date and hour for the appearance of the department head. Such appearance shall be scheduled at least three (3) days from receipt of the request.
The Order of Business shall specify the subject of the questions, the department head requested to answer them, and the proponent(s) thereof.
Section 125. Day of Appearance. The appearance of department heads shall be scheduled on any Wednesday or on such other day(s) as may be determined by the Speaker or a majority of the Members of the House. The department head may answer the questions of the House Members either verbally or in writing. Interpellations of Members shall not be limited to the written questions but may cover matters related thereto. Such interpellations shall conform with the standards for questions herein provided. The questions and answers shall be recorded in the Journal.
Section 126. Appearance in Executive Session. The appearance of a department head shall be conducted in an executive session when the security of the State or the public interest require and the President so states in writing.
Section 127. Questions. Written questions shall be submitted to the Speaker in triplicate. Questions of an urgent nature or those relating to current issues shall be given priority. Questions may be withdrawn by the proponent when no answer has yet been made. The withdrawal shall be in writing, addressed to the Speaker, and submitted before the day of the scheduled appearance.
Section 128. Standards Set for Questions. Questions shall be based on facts, and asked to obtain information or press for action. No question shall:
- be argumentative;
- suggest its own answer;
- include offensive or unparliamentary language or expressions;
- pertain to sub judice matters;
- seek an opinion on a question of law;
- include names or statements other than what is strictly necessary to make the question intelligible;
- relate to matters directly under the responsibility of another department head;
- refer to an item of the agenda of the current month's session or to proceedings of a committee not yet reported;
- suggest amendments to bills before the House of Representatives; or
- repeat a question previously asked and answered.
Section 129. Form of Questions and Answers. In form, questions and answers of excessive length are not in order.
Section 130. Questions Not Conforming With Standards. If the questions do not conform with the foregoing standards, the Speaker shall return them to the Member concerned and the latter may modify or restate the questions to make them conform with the said standards or appeal the action of the Speaker to the House. Said appeal shall be resolved like all other appeals from the rulings of the chair.
Section 131. Classification and Disposition of Questions. Questions may be classified and grouped together by subject matter by the Speaker who shall decide the order in which the said questions are to be dealt with. During the appearance of the department head, the Speaker shall direct the Secretary General to read the questions according to their precedence, the name of the proponent and the department head to whom the question is directed.
Section 132. Standards for Answers. Answers should be directly related to the questions propounded without need for discussing general policies or programs, concise, responsive and should not be argumentative. They should conform with the standards set for questions, where these are applicable.
Section 133. Questions of Local Significance. The Speaker may direct that questions of local significance be answered in writing only.
Section 134. Unanswered Questions. Questions that are left unanswered may be answered in writing or, where necessary, during a day set aside by the Speaker before the next Question Hour or at any succeeding Question Hour. Questions not taken due to the absence of both the proponent and the department head shall be taken at any other day.
Section 135. Interpellations and Comments of Proponents of Original Questions. At the end of every Question Hour, it shall be in order for any proponent of the original questions to interpellate the department head concerned and make comments, observations and statements relative to the answers given. The interpellations and comments of the proponent shall be subject to the ten-minute rule.
Section 136. Service Unit. A Service Unit shall be organized in the Committee on Rules to facilitate, coordinate and expedite all matters relative to the conduct of the Question Hour.
SOURCE: Committee on Rules