Senate of the Philippines

Senado ng Pilipinas
19th Congress of the Philippines
Coat of arms or logo
Flag of the Senate of the Philippines
Term limits
2 consecutive terms (12 years)
FoundedOctober 16, 1916 (1916-10-16)
Preceded bySecond Philippine Commission
Francis Escudero, NPC
since May 20, 2024
Jinggoy Estrada, PMP
since May 20, 2024
Francis Tolentino, PDP
since May 20, 2024
Koko Pimentel, PDP
since July 25, 2022
Seats24 senators
Political groups
Majority bloc (15)
  •   PDP (4)
  •   Nacionalista (4)
  •   NPC (2)
  •   Lakas (1)
  •   PMP (1)
  •   Independent (3)

Minority bloc (2)

Independent bloc (7)

Committees41 standing committees
Length of term
6 years, renewable once
AuthorityArticle VI, Constitution of the Philippines
Plurality-at-large voting
Last election
May 9, 2022 (12 seats)
Next election
May 12, 2025 (12 seats)
Meeting place
GSIS Building, Financial Center, Jose W. Diokno Boulevard, Pasay
Rules of the Senate (English)

The Senate of the Philippines (Filipino: Senado ng Pilipinas) is the upper house of Congress, the bicameral legislature of the Philippines, with the House of Representatives as the lower house. The Senate is composed of 24 senators who are elected at-large (the country forms one district in senatorial elections) under a plurality-at-large voting system.

Senators serve six-year terms with a maximum of two consecutive terms, with half of the senators elected in staggered elections every three years. When the Senate was restored by the 1987 Constitution, the 24 senators who were elected in 1987 served until 1992. In 1992, the 12 candidates for the Senate obtaining the highest number of votes served until 1998, while the next 12 served until 1995. Thereafter, each senator elected serves the full six years. From 1945 to 1972, the Senate was a continuing body, with only eight seats up every two years.

Aside from having its concurrence on every bill in order to be passed for the president's signature to become a law, the Senate is the only body that can concur with treaties and try impeachment cases. The president of the Senate is the presiding officer and highest-ranking official of the Senate. They are elected by the entire body to be their leader and are second in the Philippine presidential line of succession. The current officeholder is Francis Escudero.


Joint session of Philippine Legislature including the newly elected Senate, November 15, 1916
The post–World War II Philippine Senate in 1951: Cipriano P. Primicias, Sr., far left, debates Quintín Paredes, far right. In the middle are Justiniano Montano, Mariano Jesús Cuenco, Enrique B. Magalona, and Francisco Delgado; in the foreground is Edmundo Cea. Deliberations were once held at the Old Legislative Building.

The Senate has its roots in the Philippine Commission of the Insular Government. Under the Philippine Organic Act, from 1907 to 1916, the Philippine Commission headed by the governor-general of the Philippines served as the upper chamber of the Philippine Legislature, with the Philippine Assembly as the elected lower house. At the same time the governor-general also exercised executive powers.

In August 1916 the United States Congress enacted the Philippine Autonomy Act or popularly known as the "Jones Law", which created an elected bicameral Philippine Legislature with the Senate as the upper chamber and with the House of Representatives of the Philippines, previously called the Philippine Assembly, as the lower chamber. The governor-general continued to be the head of the executive branch of the Insular Government. Senators then were elected via senatorial districts via plurality-at-large voting; each district grouped several provinces and each elected two senators except for "non-Christian" provinces where the governor-general of the Philippines appointed the senators for the district.

Future president Manuel L. Quezon, who was then Philippine Resident Commissioner, encouraged future president Sergio Osmeña, then Speaker of the House, to run for the leadership of the Senate, but Osmeña preferred to continue leading the lower house. Quezon then ran for the Senate and became Senate President serving for 19 years (1916–1935).

This setup continued until 1935, when the Philippine Independence Act or the "Tydings–McDuffie Act" was passed by the U.S. Congress which granted the Filipinos the right to frame their own constitution in preparation for their independence, wherein they established a unicameral National Assembly of the Philippines, effectively abolishing the Senate. Not long after the adoption of the 1935 Constitution several amendments began to be proposed. By 1938, the National Assembly began consideration of these proposals, which included restoring the Senate as the upper chamber of Congress. The amendment of the 1935 Constitution to have a bicameral legislature was approved in 1940 and the first biennial elections for the restored upper house was held in November 1941. Instead of the old senatorial districts, senators were elected via the entire country serving as an at-large district, although still under plurality-at-large voting, with voters voting up to eight candidates, and the eight candidates with the highest number of votes being elected. While the Senate from 1916 to 1935 had exclusive confirmation rights over executive appointments, as part of the compromises that restored the Senate in 1941, the power of confirming executive appointments has been exercised by a joint Commission on Appointments composed of members of both houses. However, the Senate since its restoration and the independence of the Philippines in 1946 has the power to ratify treaties.

The Senate finally convened in 1945 and served as the upper chamber of Congress from thereon until the declaration of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972, which shut down Congress. The Senate was resurrected in 1987 upon the ratification of the 1987 Constitution. However, instead of eight senators being replaced after every election, it was changed to twelve.

In the Senate, the officers are the Senate president, Senate president pro tempore, majority floor leader, minority floor leader and the Senate secretary and the Senate sergeant at arms who are elected by the senators from among the employees and staff of the Senate. Meanwhile, the Senate president, Senate president pro-tempore, the majority floor leader and the minority floor leader are elected by the senators from among themselves.


See also: Philippine senatorial elections

Article VI, Section 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that the Senate shall be composed of 24 senators who shall be elected at-large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law.

The composition of the Senate is smaller in number as compared to the House of Representatives. The members of this chamber are elected at large by the entire electorate. The rationale for this rule intends to make the Senate a training ground for national leaders and possibly a springboard for the presidency.[1]

It follows also that the senator will have a broader outlook of the problems of the country, instead of being restricted by narrow viewpoints and interests by having a national rather than only a district constituency.[1]

The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) composed of three Supreme Court justices and six senators determines election protests on already-seated senators. There had been three instances where the SET has replaced senators due to election protests, the last of which was in 2011 when the tribunal awarded the protest of Koko Pimentel against Migz Zubiri.[2]


The qualifications for membership in the Senate are expressly stated in Section 3, Art. VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution as follows:


Under the Constitution, "Congress shall convene once every year on the fourth Monday of July for its regular session...". During this time, the Senate is organized to elect its officers. Specifically, the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides a definite statement to it:

(1) The Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives its Speaker by a vote of all its respective members.

(2) Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.

(3) Each House 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 sixty days.

— Article VI, Section 16, paragraphs 1 to 3, The Constitution of the Philippines

By virtue of these provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the Senate adopts its own rules, otherwise known as the "Rules of the Senate." The Rules of the Senate provide the following officers: a president, a president pro tempore, a secretary and a sergeant-at-arms.

Following this set of officers, the Senate as an institution can then be grouped into the Senate Proper and the Secretariat. The former belongs exclusively to the members of the Senate as well as its committees, while the latter renders support services to the members of the Senate.


The Senate was modeled upon the United States Senate; the two chambers of Congress have roughly equal powers, and every bill or resolution that has to go through both houses needs the consent of both chambers before being passed for the president's signature. Once a bill is defeated in the Senate, it is lost. Once a bill is approved by the Senate on third reading, the bill is passed to the House of Representatives, unless an identical bill has also been passed by the lower house. When a counterpart bill in the lower house is different from the one passed by the Senate, either a bicameral conference committee is created consisting of members from both chambers of Congress to reconcile the differences, or either chamber may instead approve the other chamber's version.

While franchise and money bills originate in the House of Representatives, the Senate may still propose or concur with amendments. Only the Senate has the power to approve, via a two-thirds supermajority, or denounce treaties, and the power to try and convict, via a two-thirds supermajority, an impeached official.

Current members

Senate traditional photo. July 2022.



Senator[3] Party Term
Starts Ends
Sonny Angara LDP 2 June 30, 2019 June 30, 2025
Nancy Binay UNA 2
Pia Cayetano Nacionalista 1
Ronald dela Rosa PDP 1
Bong Go PDP 1
Lito Lapid NPC 1
Imee Marcos Nacionalista 1
Koko Pimentel PDP 3
Grace Poe Independent 2
Bong Revilla Lakas–CMD 1
Francis Tolentino PDP 1
Cynthia Villar Nacionalista 2
Alan Peter Cayetano Independent 1 June 30, 2022 June 30, 2028
JV Ejercito NPC 1
Francis Escudero NPC 1
Jinggoy Estrada PMP 1
Win Gatchalian NPC 2
Risa Hontiveros Akbayan 2
Loren Legarda NPC 1
Robin Padilla PDP 1
Raffy Tulfo Independent 1
Joel Villanueva Independent 2
Mark Villar Nacionalista 1
Migz Zubiri Independent 2


A Senate session during the 18th Congress inside the GSIS building with other senators on remote locations and using virtual backgrounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate currently meets at the GSIS Building along Jose W. Diokno Boulevard in Pasay. Built on land reclaimed from Manila Bay, the Senate shares the complex with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

The Senate previously met at the Old Legislative Building in Manila until May 1997. The Senate occupied the upper floors (the Session Hall now restored to its semi-former glory) while the House of Representatives occupied the lower floors (now occupied by the permanent exhibit of Juan Luna's Spoliarium as the museum's centerpiece), with the National Library at the basement. When the Legislative Building was ruined in World War II, the House of Representatives temporarily met at the Old Japanese Schoolhouse at Lepanto Street (modern-day S. H. Loyola Street),[4] while the Senate's temporary headquarters was at the half-ruined Manila City Hall.[5] Congress then returned to the Legislative Building in 1950 upon its reconstruction. When President Ferdinand Marcos dissolved Congress in 1972, he built a new legislative complex in Quezon City. The unicameral parliament known as the Batasang Pambansa eventually met there in 1978. With the restoration of the bicameral legislature in 1987, the House of Representatives inherited the complex at Quezon City, now called the Batasang Pambansa Complex, while the Senate returned to the Congress Building, until the GSIS Building was finished in 1997. Thus, the country's two houses of Congress meet at different places in Metro Manila.

The Senate would eventually move to the New Senate Building at the Navy Village in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig by 2025 at the earliest.[6] As the Senate has rented GSIS for the office space, it asked the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to present suitable sites for it to move to, with the Senate eyeing the Navy Village property along Lawton Avenue as its favored site.[7] In 2018, a building designed by AECOM was chosen as winner for the new home for the Senate and was expected to be built by 2022. Civil works to erect the building had been awarded to Hilmarcs Construction Corporation, the same company the Senate investigated for alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II in 2015.[8] The reception to the design was mixed, with some Filipino netizens comparing it to a garbage can.[9] By early 2021, the New Senate Building's construction was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.[10]

Historical makeup

See also: List of legislatures of the Philippines

This is how the Senate looked like after the beginning of every Congress under the 1987 constitution. The parties are arranged alphabetically, with independents at the rightmost side. Vacancies are denoted by dashes after the independents. Senators may switch parties or become independents mid-term.

Prominent senators

See also: List of senators of the Philippines


Vice Presidents

Former Speakers of the House of Representatives

Chief Justices

First Lady

Framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution

Other Prominent senators


  1. ^ a b "Composition of the Senate". Senate of the Philippines.
  2. ^ Calonzo, Andero (August 11, 2011). "Pimentel proclaimed 12th winning senator in '07 polls". GMA News Online. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
  3. ^ Viray, Patricia Lourdes (May 19, 2016). "Comelec proclaims Senate 'Magic 12'". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  4. ^ Quezon Memorial Book. Quezon Memorial Committee. 1952.
  5. ^ Towards the south side, opposite the base of the famous clocktower. [1] & [2]
  6. ^ Cruz, RG (May 27, 2024). "Escudero: Senate won't move to new building this year". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved May 27, 2024.
  7. ^ "Senate to move to Bonifacio Global City in Taguig by 2020 - The Manila Times Online". January 25, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "Controversial contractor to build new Senate home". March 19, 2019.
  9. ^ "Lacson defends construction of new Senate Building in Bonifacio". Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  10. ^ Terrazola, Vanne Elaine (February 20, 2021). "Sotto says conversion of new Senate building to hospital up to next batch of senators". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  11. ^ Bragado, Erlinda (2002). ""Sukimátem": Isabelo de los Reyes Revisited" (PDF). Philippine Studies. 50 (1): 50–75. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  12. ^ Oaminal, Clarence Paul. "Don Vicente Yap Sotto, father of Cebuano journalism, language and literature". Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  13. ^ "Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago". Senate.
  14. ^ "Miriam joins Bill Gates elite law group". Philstar.