Installing Designated Survivor in Phl setting, timely – lawmakers

Maris Federez   •   August 30, 2019   •   912

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday voiced out his concern whenever the President, Vice President, senators, House representatives, and members of the Cabinet are together in one event.

“Example, there are extremists or a terrorist bomb at the Batasan and all died. We don’t have a successor,” he said.

That is why the senator believes that it is high time for the country to have a designated survivor, and filed his version of the Designated Survivor Bill.

A designated survivor is chosen and will be tasked to be the leader of the country when government officials included in the line of succession are incapacitated or have died at the same time.

An official who will be chosen to be the designated survivor will be brought to a safe house whenever the President holds a state of the nation address.

In the country’s existing law, included in the line of succession after the President is the Vice President, the Senate President, and the House Speaker.

 “After the Speaker of the House, we will continue the line of succession by naming the most senior member of the senate in terms of number of years. At kung naubos pa rin lahat ng senador, yung most senior member of the House of Representatives. Kung maubos parin ang lahat ng member ng House of Representatives [And when no one is left in the Senate, it will be the most senior in the House of Representatives. And when one is left in the House of Representatives], the President will now designate a Designated Survivor from among the members of the cabinet,” Lacson explained.

Meanwhile, on her version of the said bill in the House, Quezon City Representative Precious Hipolito-Castelo proposed that the Designated Survivor must be from the President’s Cabinet.

 “The absence of a leader can lead to lawlessness and disorder and, worst, anarchy,” the lady lawmaker said.

She stressed the need for a designated survivor, saying it will prevent the country from going into chaos in case the leaders perish.

Senator Lacson admitted that he was inspired to file the Designated Survivor Bill after watching the popular American TV series bearing the same title which revolves in the life and challenges of being the Designated Survivor.

U.S. law provides that a Designated Survivor is installed in office when the President, Vice President, and other officials come together in a gathering, such as the State of the Union Address, Presidential inauguration and during Congress Joint Session.

“Kapag naisabatas ito maraming hindi a-attend ng SONA [Once this is passed, many will not attend the SONA],” the senator quipped. (from the report of Grace Casin) /mbmf

House to transmit 2021 budget to Senate ahead of Oct. 28 deadline – Velasco

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is set to transmit to the Senate its version of the P4.506-trillion proposed 2021 national budget, a day before the promised date of Oct. 28, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Tuesday.

Velasco earlier said he and Senate President Vicente Sotto III agreed on the date as the deadline of transmission.

The House speaker said the record-high budget was designed to further strengthen government response and stimulate economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We increased the allocation for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines by more than three-fold to cover more Filipinos. We also provided extra allocation for the facilities enhancement program of the Department of Health to help improve the country’s health care system,” Velasco said in a statement.

“The House-approved version of the budget also has additional funding for the Department of Labor and Employment to aid workers displaced by COVID-19 and for the Department of Social Welfare and Development for another round of financial assistance to families affected by the pandemic,” he added.

The lower chamber passed the budget bill on third and final reading last Oct. 17 after it was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The bill was approved a few days after Velasco was elected to the House’s top post following the removal of Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as Speaker. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Velasco assumes post as new House Speaker

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday officially assumed as the new speaker of the House of Representatives, replacing Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, following his election that enforced his term-sharing agreement with the latter.

Velasco presided over the re-opening of the House session on Tuesday to resume the chamber’s deliberations of the proposed 2021 national budget after it was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

During the session, 186 lawmakers voted to ratify Velasco’s installation as speaker following his election in a remote session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City on Monday.

Leaders of political parties and regional blocs also pledged support for the new speaker.

The nominal voting came a few hours before the special session for budget deliberations began in the plenary on Tuesday afternoon.

Presiding over the House proceedings for the first time, Velasco thanked his allies and other lawmakers for their support.

Velasco’s assumption of the chamber’s top post ended weeks of leadership tug-of-war with Cayetano, who tendered his irrevocable resignation as House Speaker in recognition of the former’s election. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Sara Duterte denies hand in Velasco election as House Speaker

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has denied involvement in the changes that ensued in the leadership of the House of Representatives, which saw the installment of Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco as the new Speaker.

In a statement, Duterte said she only expressed the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) party’s support for the term-sharing agreement between Velasco and Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano during her meeting with the Marinduque solon.

The Davao City mayor said that during their meeting last week, Velasco sought her help in securing the votes of three Davao region representatives who belong to HNP for his speakership bid.

Duterte serves as the chairperson of the HNP.

“Congressman Velasco came to Davao City to personally meet me and discuss Hugpong ng Pagbabago. He intimated that there will be a Speakership vote and he sought for my help, as the chairperson of HNP, with regard to the votes of the three HNP Congressmen from Davao region,” she said in a statement.

Duterte said she expressed support for the term-sharing agreement between Velasco and Cayetano that was brokered by her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under the term-sharing deal, Cayetano would serve as House Speaker for the first 15 months or until October 2020 while Velasco will take over the position for the remaining 21 months of the term.

The Davao City mayor, however, denied reports that she made moves to ensure that the deal will be enforced.

“The only thing na may involvement ako sa House of Representatives is because chairperson ako ng Hugpong ng Pagbabago at hanggang diyan lang ang participation ko,” she said in a separate interview.

Several days after their meeting, Velasco was installed as the new House Speaker, replacing Cayetano.

He was elected to the chamber’s top post after 186 lawmakers declared the position vacant and voted for his installation during a remote session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City on Monday.

During his speech, Velasco thanked his allies, as well as Mayor Sara and her brother, House Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte.

“Nagpapasalamat din ako sa tiwala at moral support ni Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, Deputy Speaker Pulong Duterte,” he said.

On Tuesday, House lawmakers voted to ratify Velasco’s election as the new Speaker. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lucille Lloren)


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