FAST FACTS: Trivia on the Philippine Senate

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine Senate celebrates its centennial anniversary on Sunday, October 16, marking a long history from its roots as a legislative set-up under American rule.

With the enactment of the Jones Law, the Philippine Legislature was inaugurated on October 16, 1916, establishing what is now known as the Senate and the House of Representatives. (IN PHOTOS: Philippine Senate turns 100)

Throughout its long history, the institution weathered war and political storms.

Last year, former President Benigno Aquino III signed Proclamation No. 1091, s. 2015, declaring October 2015 to October 2016 as the “Centennial Year of the Senate of the Philippines.”

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Senate, Rappler compiles interesting tidbits and trivia on this political institution and the men and women who have served under its august halls.

The firsts

Age and longevity

Nonetheless, based on available information, here are some senators who were below 35 years old at the time of their election. Three of them were from the very first batch of senators elected in 1916:

From 1916 to 1935, when the Jones Law was in effect, the minimum age for senators at the time of election was set at 30 years old. Under the 1935 Constitution and the present 1987 Constitution, the minimum age became 35 years old. 

(Editor’s Note: This article was updated to correct the initial information that Benigno Aquino Sr was the youngest Philippine senator elected into office. We apologize for the error.)

How many senators eventually became president?

Of the Philippines’ 16 presidents so far, 10 were former senators:


Abolished, shuttered, or not convened

There were two periods when the Senate was abolished, shuttered, or not able to convene:

1935 to 1945 - The 1935 Constitution provided for the shift to a unicameral Congress, then known as the National Assembly. A constitutional amendment in 1940 brought back the Senate and the House of Representatives, members of which were determined in the November 1941 elections.

However, in December 1941, Japanese forces started occupying the country during World War II. As a result, the 1941 poll winners were not able to convene until June 1945. During the Japanese occupation, the government's legislative arm was the unicameral National Assembly, which held sessions from 1943 to 1944.

1972 to 1987 - Soon after the declaration of Martial Law, both houses of Congress were abolished. It was replaced by the appointed Batasang Bayan (1976-78), then the elected unicameral Interim Batasang Pambansa (1978-84) and the Regular Batasang Pambansa (1984-86). The current bicameral set-up – Senate and House of Representatives – was restored in the 1987 Constitution.

The Senate’s homes

Senators currently hold office at the GSIS Building in Pasay City, the institution’s home since May 1997. Prior to this, the Philippine Senate has called other locations its home: