Friday, July 02, 2010
THE PHILIPPINE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The district representatives are elected directly and personally, from the territorial unit they seek to represent. To date, there are 216 members in the House of Representatives who were elected directly and personally from the territorial unit they represent. These units or legislative districts were created in accordance with their respective population and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. The Constitution provides that there shall be a reapportionment of legislative districts within three years following the return of every census. When making a reapportionment, the legislature shall see to it that each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, and every province shall have at least one representative.In reapportionment, the Charter prohibits gerrymandering - the arrangement of districts in such a way as to favor the election of preferred candidates through the inclusion therein only of those areas where they expect to win, regardless of the resultant shape of such districts. Arrangement must be compact, contiguous and adjacent.
The party-list representatives, on the other hand, are chosen indirectly, through the party they represent. The voters choose from the various parties listed in the Commission on Elections. The number of candidates to be elected from each party shall depend on the percentage or proportion of votes obtained by the party in the election. To date, twenty percent or 54 of the total membership (270) of the House of Representatives is composed of party-list representatives.
Members of the House of Representatives have the same qualifications with the members of House of Senate except for age and residency qualifications.
The age qualification is lower (25 years old) as compared to the senators which is 35 years old. This might explain the relative impulsiveness of the House of Representatives.
Residence for the members of the House of Representatives must be in the district they represent and is only for one year immediately before the election. In the case of the Senate, residency is two years before the election. The purpose of the residence requirement is to ensure familiarity with the conditions and problems of the constituency sought to be represented and consequent efficiency and concern in the discharge of legislative duties on its behalf. (Cruz, 2005).
The term of the members of the House of Representatives is fixed for three years which begins at noon of the thirtieth day of June next following their election. They shall serve of not more than three consecutive terms or a total of nine (9) years only. One purpose in reducing the term to three years is to synchronize with the senatorial, vice-presidential and presidential elections.
Voluntary renunciation of the office is not considered as an interruption in the continuity of a representative's service for the full term for which he was elected.