Role of committees in passing a bill into law

The standing committees of the Senate or the House of Representatives, which actually operate as "little legislatures," determine the fate of most proposed measures. There are committee hearings scheduled to discuss the bills referred. Committee members and staff frequently are experts in the subjects of bills which they are tasked to review, and it is at the committee stage that a bill goes through the sharpest scrutiny. If a measure is to be substantially revised, the revision usually occurs at the committee level.

This stage in the passage of a bill is not mentioned under the 1987 Constitution because the fundamental law simply serves as an outline of how the Government should work. The cracks are filled by the internal rules and regulations promulgated by the Senate or the House of Representatives.

The scrutiny at the committee level makes legislation easier because committee members usually make sure that the law is wise, practical and constitutional before they submit the same for first-reading calendar. Of course, it sometimes happens that a law is declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court for violating the fundamental law but the reason why this does not always happen is, first, the strict scrutiny at the committee level and, second, the debates and discussions in the second reading.

A committee may dispose of a bill in one of several ways: it may approve, or reject, the legislation with or without amendments; rewrite the bill entirely; reject it, which essentially kills the bill; report it favorably or without recommendation, which allows the chamber to consider the bill. It must be noted that under Section 29, Rule XI of the Rules of the Senate, if the reports submitted are unfavorable, they shall be transmitted to the archives of the Senate, unless five Senators shall, in the following session, move for their inclusion in the Calendar for Ordinary Business, in which case the President shall so order.

Again, the above details are no longer found in the 1987 Constitution. They are rules promulgated by the Senate or the House of Representatives to make sure that the law-making process is beneficial to all concerned.

Committee Reports.
A committee report describes the purpose and scope of the bill, explains any committee amendments, indicates proposed changes in existing law and such other materials that are relevant. Moreover, reports are numbered in the order in which they are filed and printed.