Bills filed in Congress allowing Duterte to appoint successor in wake of unforseen events
Bills allowing President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint his successor in case of a major disaster or unprecedented circumstance have been filed in the Senate and Congress.
Senate Bill No. 982 or An Act Prescribing the Order of Presidential Succession was filed by Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday.
House Bill No. 4062 or the Presidential Succession Act by was filed by Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo last August 20 to grant Duterte to appoint an acting president "in case of incapacity, death, resignation, or removal of the President from the office."
According to Lacson, the bill was filed to guarantee stable government operations in case of a terrorist attack, major disaster and other "exceptional circumstances" where the president and his successors under the Constitution are killed or permanently disabled.
As mandated by the Philippine Constitution, the line of the presidential succession is the Vice President, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
"However, in the unlikely chance all of those officials become unavailable to fill in the role of the President, our supreme law does not provide a rule. During SONA, or during any other assembly where these officials are gathered, the probability of this happening becomes greater," Castelo explained.
Based on Lacson's bill, the following can be appointed to act as president in the following order:
1.The most senior senator based on the length of service in the Senate or if there be none, or in the event of his removal, death, resignation or his inability to act as president,
2. The most senior representative based on the length of service in the House of Representatives or if there be none, or in the event of his removal, death, resignation or his inability to act as president,
3. A member of the Cabinet designated by the president.
Both measures order the delegated successor to be kept "in a secure and undisclosed place during the occasion or gathering for which his appointment was made."
"In the United States, dating back to the Cold War era, the practice is to keep a 'designated successor' away from events at which numerous high-ranking federal officers gather," Castelo said.
"This is done in order to guarantee that there will always be someone to assume the reins of the government in case an unimaginable disaster happens and all the officers in the presidential line of succession are killed," he added. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS