Blog Lecture No. 57: Parliamentary Immunity

What does the 1987 Constitution say about parliamentary immunity?

Article VI, Section 11 states:

A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof.

What does this this entail?

1. If the crime is punishable by six years or less, a member of any house cannot be arrested while congress is in session.

2. A member of congress cannot be questioned or held liable in any other forum for any speech or debate in Congress or any committee.

Is Congress is session right now?

Yes.

So any member thereof cannot be arrested if the crime accused is punishable by less than six years imprisonment?

Yes.

What is the punishment for inciting to rebellion?

According to Article 138 of the Revised Penal Code, it is prision mayor in its minimum period.

What is that in years?

According to Article 76 of the Revised Penal Code, it is six years and one day to eight years.

But can you arrest anybody here on a weekend?

Could not find the authority on it yet but no because it would deprive one of court/bail processes, unless it is for a valid warrantless arrest.

But what about arrests caused by Congress itself?

This immunity does not apply to those. The arrests caused by Congress as a form of discipline to its members (such as ensuring attendance, for punishable behavior, etc.) are not covered by this immunity.

In the meantime, also study this previous blog-lecture on arrests.

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