12 steps a Bill shall pass before becoming a Law

Basically, a bill introduced by a member of the House of Representatives will not automatically be ratified. The bill shall pass 12 steps before it becomes a law.

Below are the steps the bill shall pass before becoming a law. These steps are purely and absolutely came from the official website of the House of Representatives at http://www.congress.gov.ph  (visit the site for verification if the processes written here are not true and correct).

(Words in bold and italicized are being defined which can be seen at the definition of terms part)

(I promise if I become a law expert, I will write here some analysis and explanations on each steps)

1. Preparation of the Bill

–      The Member or the Bill Drafting Division of the Reference and Research Bureau prepares and drafts the bill upon the Member’s request.

2. First Reading

–      The bill is filed with the Bills and Index Service and the same is numbered and reproduced.

–      Three days after its filing, the same is included in the Order of Business for First Reading.

–      On First Reading, the Secretary General reads the title and number of the bill. The Speaker refers the bill to the appropriate Committee/s.

3. Committee Consideration/Action

–      The Committee where the bill was referred to evaluates it to determine the necessity of conducting public hearings.
*If the Committee finds it necessary to conduct public hearings, it schedules the time thereof, issues public notics and invites resource persons from the public and private sectors, the academe and experts on the proposed legislation.

*If the Committee finds that no public hearing is not needed, it schedules the bill for Committee discussion/s.

–      Based on the result of the public hearings or Committee discussions, the Committee may introduce amendments, consolidate bills on the same subject matter, or propose a substitute bill. It then prepares the corresponding committee report.

–      The Committee approves the Committee Report and formally transmits the same to the Plenary Affairs Bureau.

4. Second Reading

–      The Committee Report is registered and numbered by the Bills and Index Service. It is included in the Order of Business and referred to the Committee on Rules.

–      The Committee on Rules schedules the bill for consideration on Second Reading.

–      On Second Reading, the Secretary General reads the number, title and text of the bill and the following takes place:

A. Period of Sponsorship and Debate

B. Period of Amendments

C. Voting which may be by:

i. viva voce

ii. count by tellers

iii. division of the House, or;

iv. nominal voting

5. Third Reading

–      The amendments, if any, are engrossed and printed copies of the bill are reproduced for Third Reading.

–      The engrossed bill is included in the Calendar of Bills for Third Reading and copies of the same are distributed to all the Members three days before its Third Reading.

–      On Third Reading, the Secretary General reads only the number and title of the bill.

–      A roll call or nominal voting is called and a Member, if he desires, is given three minutes to explain his vote. No amendment on the bill is allowed at this stage.

A. The bill is approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Members present.

B. If the bill is disapproved, the same is transmitted to the Archives.

6. Transmittal of the Approved Bill to the Senate

–      The approved bill is transmitted to the Senate for its concurrence.

7. Senate Action on the Approved Bill of the House

–      The bill undergoes the same legislative process in the Senate.

8. Conference Committee

–      A Conference Committee is constituted and is composed of Members from each House of Congress to settle, reconcile or thresh out differences or disagreements on any provision of the bill.

–      The conferees are not limited to reconciling the differences in the bill but may introduce new provisions germane to the subject matter or may report out an entirely new bill on the subject.

–      The Conference Committee prepares a report to be signed by all the conferees and the Chairman.

–      The Conference Committee Report is submitted for consideration/approval of both Houses. No amendment is allowed.

9. Transmittal of the Bill to the President

–      Copies of the bill, signed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and certified by both the Secretary of the Senate and the Secretary General of the House, are transmitted to the President.

10. Presidential Action on the Bill

–      If the bill is approved the President, the same is assigned an RA number and transmitted to the House where it originated.

–      If the bill is vetoed, the same, together with a message citing the reason for the veto, is transmitted to the House where the bill originated.

11. Action Approved Bill

–      The bill is reproduced and copies are sent to the Official Gazette Office for publication and distribution to the implementing agencies. It is then included in the annual compilation of Acts and Resolutions.

12. Action on Vetoed Bill

–      The message is included in the Order of Business. If the Congress decides to override the veto, the House and the Senate shall proceed separately to reconsider the bill or the vetoed items of the bill. If the bill or its vetoed items is passed by a vote of two-thirds of the Members of each House, such bill or items shall become a law.

Highest ranking officials of the Philippines as stated on the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines (see Articles 6,7 and 8 of the constitution) (except *)

*Secretary-General of the House of Representatives – Hon. Marilyn Barua-Yap

*Secretary of the Senate – Hon. Emma L. Reyes

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – Hon. Maria Lourdes A. Sereno

Speaker of the House – Hon. Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte, Jr.

Senate President – Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile

Vice-President – Hon. Jejomar C. Binay

President – Hon. Benigno S. Aquino, III

Definition of terms:

 amendment – a minor change or addition designed to improve a text, piece of legislation, etc (as defined by the Oxford Dictionary online)

Bill – a draft of a proposed law presented to parliament for discussion. (as defined by the Oxford Dictionary online)

Law –  the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties. (as defined by the Oxford Dictionary online)

Official Gazette – is the name of the official site of the Republic of the Philippines, where executive orders and speeches of the President, himself, can be seen.

public hearing – the main purpose of most public hearings is to obtain public testimony or comment. A public hearing may occur as part of a regular or special meeting, or it may be the sole purpose of a special meeting, with no other matters addressed. (from: http://www.mrsc.org/focuspub/hearings.aspx )

RA – short for Republic Act

veto – a constitutional right to reject a decision or proposal made by a lawmaking body. (as defined by the Oxford Dictionary online)

viva voce – orally rather than in writing. (as defined by the Oxford Dictionary online)

Sources:

http://www.gov.ph

www. senate.gov.ph

http://www.congress.gov.ph

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com

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