Friday, August 06, 2021

Limlingan: The designated survivor

The Advocate

THIS is not about the TV series that can be watched on Netflix. This is somehow similar about such though. As a matter of fact, this piece of a proposed legislation in both upper and lower houses was inspired by the said boob tube sensation.

I have watched the first season of it and it starts with the death of the President of the United States among other high ranking officials of the government, except for a lone cabinet member who was elsewhere when the State of the Union was delivered when the bombing took place, taking all the lives of high ranking government personalities.

The terroristic act put everyone else in quandary as to who will take care of the government until a designated survivor was sworn into the Office of the President who was surviving cabinet member. By virtue of law, he is the designated survivor and he is duty-bound to assume the duties and responsibilities of the highest position in the federal government.

Various controversies however, haunted the assumption into office of the designated survivor of the attack. Some questioned the succession procedure while some personally dislike the one who succeeded. Some questioned the authority of the designated survivor and there are some who simply do not want to heed to the power that was bestowed.

Back in our own setting, the legislative proposals would allow the President to designate a senior member of the Cabinet who would take over if for any reason the constitutional successors such as the Vice-President, Senate President or House Speaker could not assume the Office of the President. Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, the proponent of Senate Bill 982 said that his proposal would ensure continuity and stability in government operations should the unexpected happens to Presidential successors under circumstances enshrined in our Constitution.

Under the bill, should the President or those in the line of succession would be dead or incapacitated, the Office of the President would be assumed by these people 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, and the cabinet member that is to be designated by the President.

The proposal is indeed based on fiction. Although the scenario getting into a real life situation is very remote, there is always a possibility. We cannot however take it sitting down when it actually happens, just in case.

Any unprecedented vacancy in the highest government position in the land may result into chaos, anarchy or power grab. If enacted into a law, it will legitimize the process of succession into office. Its not that we are anticipating the death of many high-ranking officials and there is nothing wrong with the passage of the law just in case. No matter how far is the possibility, it does still exist.

On the lighter side, it's quite amusing that Senator Lacson is watching Netflix despite his evidently hectic life. Perhaps since the series is about governmental power that the lawmaker is watching it. Its a good TV show anyway with lots of twists and turns in the exercise of great power.

I am not promoting the TV series. However, if we want to dig in deeper on the said legislation, the "Designated Survivor" TV flick is very much appropriate. We may appreciate or not the Netflix show. It's a good one for me though.


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