The Legislative PowerJanuary 31, 2022
Title 5: The Legislative Power
Legislative power shall be exercised by an Assembly of Representatives of the Nation.
This Assembly shall be organized in the form and manner determined by law.
The Members of the Assembly shall represent the whole nation and not exclusively the electors who elected them.
No representative shall receive from his electors any imperative mandate whatsoever.
The Assembly shall meet every year.
The President of the Republic has the right to convoke it, suspend and close its sessions, and dissolve the same, within the periods prescribed by law enacted by the Assembly or by the Permanent Commission.
The Assembly shall be open at least three months each year, without including in this period the time spent in its organization.
The President of the Republic shall convoke the Assembly, not later than April 15.
In extraordinary cases, he may convoke the Assembly outside of the period fixed by law, as determined by the Permanent Commission, and prolong its law-making, provided the extended period does not exceed one month and provided further that such extensions do not take place more than twice during the same legislative term.
The National Assembly, jointly with the special Representatives, shall organize committees for the organization of the Assembly and for the election of the new President of the Republic, which shall be formed at least one month before the expiration of the term of office of the Representatives.
In case of death or resignation of the President of the Republic, the Assembly shall meet in session by its own right or by initiative of the President or of the Permanent Commission.
In the meantime that the new President has not been chosen, his functions shall be exercised by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court whose office shall be taken over by one of the Justices of the Court, in accordance with law.
Any session of the Assembly held outside the period of ordinary legislature shall be unlawful and void.
The case provided in Article 30 and in which the Assembly has constituted itself into a Tribunal of Justice shall be excepted, but in the latter case no other functions shall be exercised except that pertaining to judicial functions.
The sessions of the Assembly shall be public. However, sessions may be held in secret upon petition of a certain number of its members fixed by the Rules, deciding afterwards by an absolute majority of votes of the members present if the discussion on the same subject has to continue in public.
The President of the Republic shall communicate with the Assembly by means of messages, which shall be read by a Department Secretary.
The Department Secretaries shall have the right to be heard in the Assembly, upon their request, and they may be represented in the discussion of certain bills by Commissioners appointed by decrees of the President of the Republic.
The Assembly may constitute itself into a Tribunal of Justice to hear and determine crimes committed against the security of the State by the President of the Republic and members of the Council of Government, by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and by the Solicitor General of the Nation, by means of a decree promulgating it, or by the Permanent Commission, or by the President of the Republic upon petition of the Solicitor General or Council of Government.
The law shall determine the mode and manner of the accusation, instruction, and disposition of the proceedings.
No member of the Assembly shall be prosecuted nor held accountable for the opinions expressed by him, nor by the vote taken by him in the discharge of his office.
No member of the Assembly shall be prosecuted criminally without authority of the Assembly or of the Permanent Commission to which an immediate report of the facts shall be made, for its proper action.
The imprisonment, detention, or apprehension of a member of the Assembly shall not be carried out without the prior authority of the same or by the Permanent Commission. The moment the Assembly is notified of the order of imprisonment, it shall incur liability if, within two days following the notification, it does not authorize the imprisonment or give sufficient reason upon which the refusal is based.
The National Assembly shall have the following additional powers:
- to approve Rules for its internal government
- to examine the:
- legality of the elections
- legal qualifications of the elected members
- to elect its President, Vice-Presidents, and Secretaries. Until the Assembly has been dissolved, the President, Vice-Presidents, and Secretaries shall continue to exercise their office for 4 legislative terms
- to accept the resignations of its members and grant privileges in accordance with the Rules.
No bill shall become law without having been voted on by the Assembly. To approve a bill, the presence in the Assembly of at least one-fourth of the total number of the members whose elections have been duly approved and taken the oath of office shall be necessary.
No bill shall be approved by the Assembly until after it has been voted upon as a whole and subsequently article by article.
The Assembly shall have the right of censure, and each of the members the right of interpellation.
The initiative in the presentation of bills belongs to the President of the Republic and to the Assembly.
Any member of the Assembly who accepts from the Government any pension, employment, or office with salary, is understood to have renounced his membership. From this shall be excepted the employment as Secretary of the Government of the Republic and other offices provided for by special laws.
The office of Representatives shall be for a term of four years, and shall be compensated by a sum fixed by law, according to the circumstances.
Those who absent themselves during the entire period of the legislative sessions shall not be entitled to any compensation; but they may be allowed to recover the right to compensation should they attend subsequently.
Title 6: The Permanent Commission
The Assembly, before adjournment, shall elect 7 of its members to form the Permanent Commission during the period of adjournment. The Commission shall designate the President and the Secretary on its first session.
The Permanent Commission, during the adjournment of the Assembly, shall have the following attributes:
Declare if there is sufficient cause to proceed against the President of the Republic, the Representatives, Department secretaries, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Solicitor-General in the cases provided by this Constitution.
Convoke the Assembly to a special session in the cases where the latter should constitute itself into a Tribunal of Justice.
Act on pending matters which require proper action.
Convoke the Assembly in special sessions when the exigencies of the situation so demand.
Supplement the powers of the Assembly in accordance with the Constitution, excepting the act of voting and approving laws.
The Permanent Commission shall meet in session whenever convoked by the presiding officer, in accordance with this Constitution.