What are statutes?
A statute is an act of the legislature, adopted pursuant to its constitutional authority, by prescribed means and in certain form such that it becomes the law governing conduct within its scope. Statutes are enacted to prescribe conduct, define crimes, create inferior governmental bodies, appropriate public funds, and in general promote the public good and welfare.
I. Parts of a Statute
Title -- The title of the statute is the heading on the preliminary part, furnishing the name by which the act is individually known.
Example: Philippine Medical Technology Act of 1969
Preamble -- That part of the statute explaining the reasons for its enactment and the objects sought to be accomplished.
Ò Enacting clause
Enacting Clause -- That part of the statute which declares its enactment and serves to identify it is an act of legislation proceeding from the proper legislative authority.
Example: "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled."
Body -- The main and operative part of the statute containing its substantive and even procedural provisions. Provisos and exemptions may also be found in the body of the statute.
Ò Repealing clause
Repealing Clause -- That part of the statute which announces the prior statutes or specific provisions which have been abrogated by reason of the new law.
Example: SECTION 13. Repealing Clause - All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations, other issuances, or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. (From REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9048)
Ò Separability clause
Separability Clause -- That part of the statute which provides that in the event that one or more provisions are declared void or unconstitutional, the remaining provisions shall still be in force and effect
Example: SECTION 12. Separability Clause. - If any portion or provision of this Act is declared void or unconstitutional, the remaining portions or provisions thereof shall not be affected by such declaration. (From REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9048)
Ò Effectivity clause
Effectivity Clause -- That part of the Statute which announces the effectivity date of the law.
Example: SECTION 14. Effectivity Clause. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its complete publication in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation. (From REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9048)
II. References to Statutes
Statutes may be referred to as an Act or Presidential Decree or some other term. This indicates that the statute was passed during a certain period, as follows:
Ò 4,275 ACTS - Enactments from 1900-1935
Ò 733 Commonwealth Acts - Enactments from 1935-1945
Ò 2034 Presidential Decrees - Enactments from 1972-1985
Ò 884 Batas Pambansa. - Enactments from 1979-1985
Ò 9335. Republic Acts - Enactments from 1946-1972, 1987- April 2005
Ò During Martial Law, both President Marcos and the Batasang Pambansa (Parliament) were issuing laws at the same time in the Presidential Decrees (by President Marcos) and Batas Pambansa (Parliament) .
Ò During Martial Law, aside from Presidential Decrees, the President promulgated other issuances namely: 57 General Orders, 1,525 Letters of Instruction, 2,489 Proclamations, 832 Memorandum Order, 1,297 Memorandum Circular, 157 Letter of Implementation, Letter of Authority, Letters of Instruction, 504 Administrative Order and 1,093 Executive Orders.
Ò The Presidential Decrees issued by Pres. Marcos during Martial Law and the Executive Orders issued by Pres. Aquino before the opening of Congress may be classified as legislative acts for there was no legislature during those two periods.
Ò Laws passed by the new 1987 Congress started from Rep. Act No. 6636, as the last Republic Act promulgated by Congress before Martial Law was Rep. Act No. 6635.
III. How statutes are enacted
Ò Sec. 26 (2), Art. VI of the constitution
Ò No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.
Ò Sec. 27 (1), Art. VI of the Constitution
Ò Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same, he shall sign it; otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with his objections to the House where it originated, which shall enter the objections at large in its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the Members of that House, it shall become a law. In all such cases, the votes of each House shall be determined by yeas or nays, and the names of the Members voting for or against shall be entered in its Journal. The President shall communicate his veto of any bill to the House where it originated within thirty days after the date of receipt thereof; otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it
Ò A bill may be introduced in the House of Representatives or the Senate. A bill must relate to only one subject matter which must be expressed in its title.
Ò On 1st Reading, the title and number of the bill is read, and then, it is referred to the appropriate committee.
Ò A committee studies the bill and conducts hearings on it. Thereafter, a committee report is prepared on the bill. A committee only prepares a report on a bill it decides to recommend for approval by the House. The committee report is read in open session, and together with the bill, it is referred to the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee can place the bill in the 2 nd Reading Calendar or in the Calendar of Unassigned Business.
Ò On 2nd Reading, a bill is subject to debate and amendment before being placed in the 3rd Reading Calendar for final passage. A bill must undergo 3 readings on 3 separate days except when the President certifies a bill as urgent to meet a public calamity or national emergency.
Ò After its passage by one house, the bill goes through the same process in the other house.
Ò If amendments are made in one house, the other house must concur. If a house has a counterpart bill to a bill passed by the other house, and these bills have conflicting provisions, a conference committee composed of representatives of each house is formed to harmonize the conflicting provisions. Thereafter, if the conflicting provisions are harmonized, a conference committee report is prepared for ratification or approval by both houses.
Ò When the bill is passed by both houses, it is signed by their respective leaders and sent to the President for approval.
Ò The President may sign the bill into a law, or veto all or part of it. The bill becomes a law if, within 30 days after receiving it, the President fails to sign or veto the bill. The bill, even if vetoed by the President, also becomes a law when Congress overrides the veto by a 2/3 vote of all its Members.