IN THE KNOW: House rules on suspending, expelling members
The Constitution states that the House of Representatives, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all members, may suspend or expel a member.
Section 16, Article VI of the Constitution says: “Each house (of Congress) may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its members, suspend or expel a member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed 60 days.”
In 2012, several lawmakers took the position that only Congress, and not the courts, could suspend its members.
Their stand was in connection with an earlier move by the Ombudsman to have former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a member of the House, suspended while facing corruption charges in the Sandiganbayan.
Then Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said that suspending one of the members of the House involved a process that would start with a complaint filed with the ethics committee.
Since Arroyo’s pending cases at the time involved her actions as President, Rodriguez said the ethics committee had no jurisdiction over her case.
Rodriguez also said that Congress could act only on cases that had been decided with finality by the Supreme Court, noting that a Sandiganbayan ruling was still subject to an appeal to the high court.
In 2013, then House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said that by law, public officers could be suspended only for acts committed during their term.
Public officers could not be suspended for acts committed before their present term, he added.
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