Batasang Pambansa

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For the building known as the "Batasang Pambansa", see Batasang Pambansa Complex.

The Batasang Pambansa (Batasan; English: National Assembly, lit. "National Legislature") was the former parliament of the Philippines, established as an interim assembly in 1978 and later as an official body in 1984. The Batasan was erected under the 1973 Constitution promulgated by then-President strongman Ferdinand Marcos, replacing the earlier Congress of the Philippines established by the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution. It was abolished immediately after the 1986 People Power Revolution, and Congress was restored.

The Batasan was the second unicameral parliament in Philippine History, the first being the 1899 National Assembly of Representatives.


The original provisions of the 1973 Constitution, which was ratified on 17 January 1973, provided for the establishment of a unicameral National Assembly. Upon its ratification, an interim National Assembly composed of the President and Vice President of the Philippines, those who served as President of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and those Delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, was established and functioned as the Legislature.

However, the regular National Assembly under the 1973 Constitution was not convened. By virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1033 (the 1976 Amendments to the Constitution) the National Assembly was replaced by the Interim Batasang Pambansa which carried all the powers inherent from the dissolved body. Members of the Regular Batasang Pambansa included regional representatives, sectoral representatives, and members of the Cabinet chosen by the incumbent President.

Before the Regular Batasang Pambansa convened, the 120-member Interim Batasan served as the national Legislature. The body was composed of the incumbent President, representatives elected from different regions and from different sectors, and select Cabinet officials appointed by the President. In 1981, the semi-parliament was formally convened as the "Batasang Pambansa", and in 1984, some dissident members unsuccessfully tried to impeach President Marcos.

The Batasang Pambansa was subsequently dissolved when Proclamation No. 3, popularly known as the 1986 Freedom Constitution, was promulgated on 25 March 1986.

The Batasang Pambansa Complex[edit]

Construction of a new government complex that included a legislative building began in 1958 following the designation of Quezon City as the new capital. It was intended to be the home of the bicameral Congress, but only the foundations were laid due to lack of funding. Construction resumed in the 1970s when the Marcos administration set aside the location for the Batasang Pambansa. Architect Felipe M. Mendoza designed the Batasan complex, which was opened on 31 May 1978.

Following the People Power Revolution and the ratification of the 1987 constitution, the legislative branch again became bicameral. The numerically larger House of Representatives retained Session Hall and the offices in the old Batasang Pambansa Complex. The smaller, newly reinstated Senate returned to the original legislative building in Manila until the building was turned over to the National Museum of the Philippines during the term of Fidel V. Ramos, and has since moved to the GSIS Building in Pasay.

On 13 November 2007, an blast tore through the South Wing. Four people were killed while six others were injured; three of the victims were legislators.

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