[last updated November 12, 2011]
The Philippine House of Representatives is composed of district and sectoral Congressmen, elected every three years. No Congressman can be elected for more than three consecutive terms.
In the 15th Congress, the Lower House has 285 seats. Each of the 229 legislative districts in the country elects one representative. The remaining 56 seats, 20% of the whole HoR membership, are allotted to sectoral (also known as party-list) representatives, elected indirectly and at-large.
(Voters vote for the party-list group, not its representative, who will be qualified by COMELEC and will only be known after the elections. The winning party-lists, and the number of seats each group obtain, are determined by a formula set forth in the Constitution.)
As of November 12, 2011, one House seat is vacant. Rep. Antonio Diaz [Zambales, 2nd District] died in office on August 3, 2011.
Rep. Florencio Vargas [Cagayan, 2nd District] died on July 22, 2010, four days before the 15th Congress’s inaugural session. Her daughter, Abulug, Cagayan vice mayor Baby Aline Vargas-Alfonso, replaced him in a special election in the district last March 12, 2011. She defeated former representative and governor Edgar Lara.
Ilocos Sur 1st District Rep. Ronald Singson was officially dropped from the House membership last March 7, after resigning six days prior. Singson was arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport last July 11, 2010, for bringing 6.67 grams of cocaine and two tablets of the narcotic Nitrazepam into the city. He pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charge in a Hong Kong District Court last February 2011, but Rep. Singson cleared that the drugs were intended for personal use.
In a special election held last May 28, 2011, Vigan City vice mayor Ryan Singson defeated Bertrand Baterina to take his brother Ronald’s seat in Congress.
Rep. Solaiman Pangandaman (AA-KASOSYO party-list) resigned on July 13, 2011. Replacing him is former DAR Sec. Nasser Pangandaman, who was not on the five nominees listed by the party prior to the 2010 elections.
Sixty-five members of the Congress (51 district and 14 sectoral representatives) are women. This constitutes 22% of the total Congress membership. Prominent Congresswomen this 15th Congress include former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, actresses Lani Mercado and Lucy Torres, Gina de Venecia, and Ma. Amelita Villarosa.
Two Representatives are sought to be ousted, or are about to be ousted from Congress:
- Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo, Jr., after the Sandiganbayan made final and executory his graft conviction in connection with his stint as mayor of San Jose, Surigao del Norte from 1991 to 1994.
- Albay 3rd District Rep. Fernando Gonzales, after his proclamation was nullified by COMELEC last July 23, 2010. He was disqualified by COMELEC for not being a natural-born Filipino citizen. However, the decision to remove him from the roll of House members rests on the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
Congressmen by Political Party
The Liberal Party (LP) has 72 members in the 15th Congress, the most by any party. After the May 10 elections, as many as 24 Congressmen defected to LP, the political party of Pres. Benigno Aquino III. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. [Quezon City, 4th District], Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales, Jr. [Mandaluyong City] and Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada [Quezon, 4th District] are members of LP.
Formerly the majority party in the 14th Congress, the Lakas-Kampi-CMD Party now only has 62 members. Minority Leader Edcel Lagman [Albay, 1st District] and former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is of the party.
The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) party of businessman Eduardo “Danding” Conjuangco, Jr. won 30 Congress seats. Deputy Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella [Camarines Sur, 4th District] belongs to the party. The NPC has a strong following in the Negros Island, South Cotabato, Rizal, Tarlac, Camarines Sur, and the eastern part of Pangasinan.
Also with 30 seats is the newly-formed National Unity Party (NUP), composed of former Lakas-Kampi congressmen who defected to the Liberal Party. Its party chairman is Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia [Cebu, 2nd District], while its president is Rep. Rodolfo Antonino [Nueva Ecija, 4th District].
The Nacionalista Party (NP), the oldest political party in the country, has 22 current Congressmen as members, including Deputy Speaker Jesus Crispin Remulla [Cavite, 7th District]. The NP is headed by defeated Presidential candidate Sen. Manny Villar.
Former Pres. Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) is gaining ground in Congress, with five from the party representing the 1st District of Misamis Oriental, both districts of Cagayan de Oro City, San Juan City and Navotas City.
Vice President Jejomar Binay’s PDP-Laban Party has two members in Congress, both representing the two districts of Makati City, where Binay was Mayor from 1986 to 2010.
The Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) parties each have one representative in the 15th Congress: Imelda Marcos [Ilocos Norte, 2nd District], and Juan Edgardo Angara [Aurora]. Marcos is the wife of former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. Angara is the son of LDP head Sen. Edgardo Angara.
The Partido ng Demokratikong Reporma-Lapiang Manggagawa (PDR-LM) party had one member in Congress, Rep. Antonio Diaz. LM is founded by former Defense Sec. and 1998 Presidential candidate Renato de Villa, and is currently headed by another former Defense Secretary and current Zambales Gov. Hemogenes Ebdane, Jr.
The 15th Congress also has two Independents as members: former Police Director Romeo Acop [Antipolo City, 2nd District] and former Bohol Governor and Representative Erico Aumentado [Bohol, 2nd District]. Ryan Singson [Ilocos Sur, 1st District] belongs to the local Biled party.
Congressmen by Term
In the 15th Congress, a total of 134 Congressmen were re-elected, or 46% of total Congress membership. Forty-two of the 52 “second-termers” (including Rep. Antonio Diaz, who died in office) last 14th Congress were re-elected on May 2010.
The 15th Congress has 129 neophyte Representatives, 28 of which are sectoral representatives.
Twenty-two former Congressmen returned to the halls of the House, including House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Imelda Marcos, Erineo Maliksi [Cavite, 3rd District], Aurora Cerilles [Zamboanga del Sur, 2nd District], and Eulogio Magsaysay [AVE party list].