The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the highest-ranking official of the lower House of the Congress of the Philippines. Also called the House Speaker, this individual is also the fourth highest and most powerful official of the Philippine Government, and places third in the presidential line of succession after the Senate President.
What Does a Speaker of the House Do? Why Is It Considered a Powerful Position?
Aside from the fact that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is also an elected lawmaker, what makes him or her powerful is that he or she has overall control over the entire legislative and non-legislative functions of the lower House of the Congress.
Below are the specific roles and responsibilities or duties and power of the House Speaker:
1. Preparation of Legislative Agenda
One of the primary roles and responsibilities of the Speaker is to set and prepare the legislative agenda for a particular regular session. Doing so involves setting specific legislative targets and formulating systems and procedures to ensure full deliberation and fast approval of measures. He or she may avail of the assistance of the Deputy Speaker, the Majority Leader, chairpersons of the House committees, and other members of the House.
2. Supervision of all House Committees
The Speaker is also responsible for exercising general supervision over all standing and special committees of the House. This specifically involves conducting monthly meetings with committee chairpersons and vice-chairpersons, setting legislative targets, reviewing performance in the attainment of targets, and ensuring priority legislative measures of the committees are attuned with the legislative agenda.
3. Maintains Order and Promotes Collaboration
Another duty centers on the maintenance of order and promotion of collaboration by conducting monthly caucus of all members and groups to discuss priority measures and facilitate dialogue, consensus, and action on issues and concerns affecting the House of Representatives and the performance of its functions. He or she is also the final signatory to all acts, resolutions, memorials, writs, warrants, and subpoenas issued by or upon order of the House.
4. Implementation of Process Improvements
There is also the need for the House Speaker to develop and implement an efficient system for information management in the House. In addition, he or she has the responsibility to establish an efficient and effective system for monitoring and evaluating the performance of the legislative tasks and duties of the entire House, as well as its specific committees and individual members.
5. Upholds Legal and Ethical Adherence
As the Speaker of the House of Representative, this individual has the role and responsibility of preparing the annual budget of the House with the assistance of the Committee of Accounts, requiring committee chairpersons to submit performance reports at the end of every regular session and fiscal year, ensuring transparency by enabling public access to the personal information of House members and other relevant public information, and developing and implementing a system for drug testing.
6. Performs Administrative Functions
Note that the Speaker also oversees the administrative requirements of the lower Congress. Hence, he or she has the duty and power to appoint personnel with the authority to delegate power, as well as to suspend or dismiss such individual. He or she is also responsible for ensuring effective and efficient human resource management in consideration of recruitment process, salary and benefits packages, and merit-based programs.
7. External Roles and Responsibilities
The other roles and responsibilities or duties and powers of the Speaker of the House of Representative include coordinating with the Senate of the Philippines to efficiently monitor and facilitate Senate action on House measures pending with the same; and representing the House or the delegation of House members in all international gatherings.