Lawmakers Seek “Designated Survivor” If Constitutional Successors Cannot Take Over The Presidency

Two bills are now filed in Congress granting the president to designate a successor if all the constitutional successors die or become incapacitated.

Senate Bill 982 and House Bill No. 4062, introduced by Senator Panfilo Lacson and Quezon City 2nd District Representative Precious Hipolito Castelo respectively, aimed to allow the president to choose his successor in case the vice president, the senate president, and the House speaker cannot assume the presidency.

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The  “Presidential Succession” Bill

Under Senate Bill 982 or known as “An Act Prescribing the Order of Presidential Succession”, Lacson proposed that the following elected and appointed officials shall act as president in the following order: 

  • The senior senator based on 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.

Lacson admitted that he was inspired by ABC’s popular TV show “Designated Survivor”.

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A “secret” cabinet member shall be sequestered to assume the presidency

Lacson added that a Cabinet member must be secluded in a secret and secure location ahead of any public or private event that the president, vice president or other constitutional successors will attend.

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“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.

The US “Designated Survivor” Policy

Under House Bill 4062 or known as the “Presidential Succession Act”, Castello mentioned the practice of keeping a designated survivor in the US if the president and all high ranking federal officers are all in the same place. This guarantees that someone will take the helm of the country ensuring government continuity. 

The chosen cabinet member doesn’t attend the State of the Union address and is kept in a secure location. His identity is classified until just before the speech. On February 5, the White House announced Energy Secretary Perry as the designated survivor before President Trump’s State of the Nation Address started. 

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The passage of the bill is “collectively sought

Castello believes that the outcome would be tragic if the unthinkable happens. “The absence of a leader can lead to lawlessness and disorder, and worst, to anarchy, ” Castello said.

Source: ABS CBN News