Palace sees wisdom in Lacson’s ‘designated survivor’ bill

MALACAÑANG on Wednesday, September 2, admitted that there is wisdom behind Senator Panfilo Lacson’s bill authorizing “designated survivors,” should the top four leaders of the Philippine government perish in any occasion wherein they’re all present.

“Well, you know, I think it’s based on a TV series ‘Designated Survivor.’ And while the series is based on fiction where everyone in government explodes away because of a terrorist attack during the State of the Nation Address, there is that scenario that should be addressed,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source.

“We have a clear line of succession all the way down to the House speaker, but what happens in fact if similar to what happened in the TV series where everyone perishes? Perhaps there is definitely wisdom in the bill filed by Senator Lacson,” he added.

Under Lacson’s Senate Bill 982 that was filed last year, the most senior senator, most senior House representative, and Cabinet member designated by the President shall assume the powers and duties of the Office of the President until the following election, in case all other successors indicated in the Constitution dies or become permanently disabled.

Lacson on Monday, August 31, urged his colleagues to pass the measure.

“To avert a potential constitutional crisis and leadership vacuum, the process to pass a ‘designated survivor’ measure guaranteeing the continuity and stability of operations in government should be started immediately,” he said in a statement.

“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 4 top elected officials, God forbid, die in one event such as the State of the Nation Address due to a terrorist attack in the Batasang Pambansa, or any occasion where the president and all three officials in the line of constitutional succession are present,” he added.

Roque, however, noted that Lacson now needs to “find a counterpart measure in the House because the author in the House has withdrawn her authorship of the bill.”

On Sunday, August 30, Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo withdrew House Bill 4062, which she filed in August 2019.

She said the bill’s withdrawal was meant to dispel any notion that she was ignoring the line of succession to the presidency, which includes the Vice President, the Senate President, and the House Speaker.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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