Chief Justice Bersamin open to 'designated survivor' bill
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) -- If Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin had to choose, appointing a “designated survivor” if the president and 3 other top officials in the line of succession die or become unfit to lead the country wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Bersamin, who was here Friday, August 30, for the launching of the Bacolod City Justice Zone, said having a “designated survivor” would be “okay,” but stressed he is not saying that Congress should push for it.
The designated survivor bill seeks to allow the President to choose a successor from among his Cabinet officials, who would then be placed in a secret and secure location whenever the President, Vice President, Senate President, and House Speaker are all gathered in one place. Should the top 4 government officials die or become permanently disabled, preventing them from leading the country, this "designated survivor" would become the new president.
Bersamin joked in his speech that it was the first time for him to speak in an event where a “president,” referring to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara – designated as officer-in-charge while President Rodrigo Duterte is in China – was around.
Bersamin also joked that nothing’s going to happen that might entail appointing a “designated survivor.” He said he was a fan of the Designated Survivor television show and Netflix series, in which a lower-level cabinet member was thrust into the oval office following a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union address that claimed the lives of the president and most Cabinet officials.
When asked about his stand on the measures that would allow the President to choose a successor from his Cabinet officials whenever he, the Vice President, Senate President, and House Speaker are gathered in one place, Bersamin said he was only kidding because he loves watching the said series on Netflix.
“We leave that to the Congress to decide. I can’t preempt Congress to tell us it is good we will have a designated survivor,” he said.
He said he was often asked about the line of succession as fifth in the hierarchy.
“Even if I’m number 5, I have no right in the succession because there’s no law that says a number 5 can go up (in the hierarchy). And it’s not going to happen because number 5 is not an elected official,” he said. – Rappler.com