SENATOR Panfilo “Ping” Lacson yesterday urged his colleagues to immeadiately start the process of passing a “Designated Survivor” measure guaranteeing the continuity and stability of operations in government, to avert a potential constitutional crisis and leadership vacuum.
Lacson said recent events involving “exceptional circumstances” such as terrorism illustrate the need to address soonest the limitations of the 1987 Constitution’s current provision on the line of succession.
“Because of the failure of Congress to pass the necessary legislation in extending the line of succession beyond the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a constitutional crisis is possible if all four top elected officials, God forbid, die in one event such as the SONA due to a terrorist attack on the Batasang Pambansa, or any occasion where the President and all three officials in the line of constitutional succession are present,” Lacson said.
“If such a tragedy occurs, who will act as President until the next election of the President and Vice President, since the constitutional line of succession to the President stops at the House Speaker?” he added.
“With all that said, I hope the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes and Laws will immediately conduct a hearing on Senate Bill No. 982, which I filed in August last year — or appoint me as subcommittee chairman, as I am willing and ready to sponsor and defend such an important piece of legislation on the Senate floor,” Lacson said.
He noted that Art. VII, Sec. 8 of the Constitution provides that “Congress shall, by law, provide who shall serve as President in case of death, permanent disability, or resignation of the Acting President. He shall serve until the President or the Vice-President shall have been elected and qualified, and be subject to the same restrictions of powers and disqualifications as the Acting President.”