Philippine Senate (File photo)

MANILA – Some Filipino voters may be wondering why only 12 members of the Senate are elected every three years when there are actually 24 senators attending the opening of Congress on the fourth Monday of July following the polls.

The answer is in the 27-Section Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution, particularly in Section 2 of Article XVIII which states that “senators, members of the House of Representatives, and the local officials first elected under this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992. Of the senators elected in the election in 1992, the first 12 obtaining the highest number of votes shall serve for six years (full term) and the remaining 12 for three years”.

Half of the 24 senators (Nos. 1 to 12) elected in May 1992 were retained until June 30, 1998, while the other half (Nos. 13 to 24) were replaced in the 1995 polls.

In turn, the 12 senators who were elected in May 1995 stayed in the Senate for the next six years until 2001.

This has been the practice since 1995 with the election of a dozen senators every three years (1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019) for a six-year term to replace the outgoing 12 members.

The Transitory Provisions under Section 5 also paved the way for the synchronization of national and local elections by extending the six-year term of the late President Corazon Aquino and Vice President Salvador Laurel by six months to noon of June 30, 1992 after they were elected in the Feb. 7, 1986 snap polls,.

The 12 senators who will be elected among 64 aspirants on May 9 will hold office for six years or until June 30, 2028.

They will be joining the 12 lawmakers elected in the May 13, 2019 polls, namely: Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Ronald Dela Rosa, Christopher Go, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Koko Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino, and Cynthia Villar. (PNA)