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A ‘designated survivor’

A POLICE general-turned-senator is among the few in government who believe that there’s certainly wisdom in designating a successor not in the Constitutional line of presidential succession.

In fact, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has filed a bill authorizing the Chief Executive to name a ‘designated survivor’ should all the Constitutional successors fail to take over the Presidency.

No less than Malacanang, through Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, a former member of the House of Representatives, said that there’s definitely wisdom in Lacson’s Senate Bill (SB) 982.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the Vice President, the President of the 24-member Philippine Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are the legal successors of the Chief Executive.

Roque admitted, however, that despite having a clear line of presidential succession, the possibility of the President’s successors dying all together on any occasion should not be discounted.

“That scenario should be addressed,” according to the presidential spokesman, a lawyer by profession.

Let’s not forget that when the President delivers his State-of-the-Nation, all the top government officials, including the Vice President, Senate President and House Speaker, are in attendance.

Anong mangyayari sa atin kung magkakaroon ng terrorist attack at mamamatay lahat ng tao sa loob ng Batasang Pambansa habang nagsasalita ang Pangulo?” asked an ordinary taxpayer.

Under SB 982, the most senior senator, most senior congressman and Cabinet member designated by the President shall act as the Chief Executive in the following order in case of the death of all Constitutional successors.

Last Monday, Senator Lacson, a product of the Philippine Military Academy who once headed the Philippine National Police, pushed for the passage of his “Designated Survivor” bill.

Lacson described as “unfortunate” the withdrawal of the counterpart bill in the House of Representatives.

Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo withdrew her House Bill No. 4062 to dispel any notion that she was “ignoring” the Constitutional line of presidential succession.
Various sectors of society ought to support Lacson’s SB 982 if we are to avert a possible Constitutional crisis.