Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed a “designated survivor” bill to guarantee the continuity and stability of operations in government in case of a terrorist attack, major disaster or other “exceptional circumstances” where the President and those specified by the Constitution to succeed him or her are killed or permanently disabled.
Lacson said Senate Bill 982 ensures the office of the President will not be vacated even in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the Acting President.
“This bill … seeks to provide an exhaustive line/order of presidential succession in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the Acting President to ensure that the office of the President is never vacated even in exceptional circumstances,” Lacson said.
Presently, the line of presidential succession includes the Vice President, Senate President and House Speaker, as provided for in the 1987 Constitution.
In case of death or permanent disability of those specified in the Constitution, Lacson’s bill provides that the following elected and appointed officers who are not under any disability to discharge the powers and duties of the Office of the President shall act as President in the following order:
* the most senior Senator, based on the length of service in the Senate;
* the most senior Representative based on the length of service in the House of Representatives;
* the member of the Cabinet designated by the President.
The bill also provides that before any public or private activity, event or function with the attendance of the President, Vice President and ranking officials, the President shall designate a member of the Cabinet to be sequestered in a secret and secure location.
“In the event of an extraordinary circumstance resulting in the death or permanent disability of the President, Vice President and the officials mentioned… the designated member of the Cabinet shall act as President,” Lacson said in his bill.
The Acting President’s official actions pertaining to the day-to-day operation of the government shall remain effective unless revoked by the elected President within 90 days from his or her assumption or re-assumption of office.