Installing Designated Survivor in Phl setting, timely – lawmakers

Maris Federez   •   August 30, 2019   •   506

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

Robredo has always been willing to help in Duterte’s drug war — OVP spokesman

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 2, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo has always been open to helping the Duterte administration in its war against illegal drugs, according to the Office of the Vice President (OVP) Spokesperson Atty. Barry Gutierrez.

In a statement, Gutierrez said that as early as 2016, Robredo had engaged with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other agencies to suggest ways to improve the country’s anti-drug campaign.

“Her inputs were not acted on, and the admin excluded her from further discussions soon after,” he said.

Gutierrez also said, President Rodrigo Duterte should just talk to the vice president properly if he is seeking assistance with curbing the illegal drug problem in the country.

“Kung humihingi na ng saklolo ang Pangulo sa usapin ng ‘drug war’, daanin lang sana sa maayos na usapan—hindi sa text, hindi sa palabas sa media, (If the president is asking for help with the “drug war” he should do so through proper discussion—not through text or media),”he added.

The OVP spokesperson reiterated that what the vice president will not stand for is being made a “scapegoat” for all the alleged shortcomings of the administrations’ drug war.—AAC

Cayetano seeks review of National Building Code

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2019

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

House of Representatives (HOR) Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is pushing for a review of the National Building Code after the 6.6 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday in parts of Mindanao (October 29).

“I think it’s about time that we take three drastic steps. Number one, to review the National Building Code,” he said.

House Bill 4008 or the Building Code of 2019 aims to repeal the Presidential Decree 1046 or the National Building Code of the country.

Under the proposed bill, there will be new building standards to reduce the risk of severe damage during calamities like earthquakes. Non-compliance with the said standards can also lead to criminal liability.

In a statement, House Deputy Speaker and 1-PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero said it is high time to change Presidential Decree 1046 because it was passed into law in 1977.

He also said there is poor compliance to the National Building Code.

“It is abundantly clear that poor compliance with the National Building Code is part of the systemic reason for the deaths, injuries, and widespread damage in Mindanao because of today’s magnitude 6.6 earthquake and the magnitude 6.3 earthquake last October 16,” he said.

The House Bill 4008 will be one of the priority bills to be discussed in the House of Representatives once session resumes on November 4.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Cayetano: Term sharing deal with Velasco still stands but Duterte has final say

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019

New House of Representatives Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano walks up to his post on stage at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 22 July 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said that his term-sharing deal with Marinduque Representative Lord Alan Velasco still stands but stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte – who brokered the agreement – has the final say.

“No use talking about something na malayo pa. But wala naman dapat ikabahala yung kahit sino kasi nga lahat naman tayo ay sumasang-ayon na ang Pangulo ang magde-decide. And so far, meron siyang standing na decision and so far, that stands,” Cayetano said during the sidelines of his inspection of the 2019 SEA Games sports facilities in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Cayetano made the statement in response to comments that it might be difficult to replace him after he got high trust and approval ratings in September Pulse Asia Survey.

Under the term-sharing deal, Cayetano would lead the Lower Chamber in the first 15 months while Velasco will serve the remaining 21 months of the three-year term.

Cayetano said he would ask the President for instructions a few months before his term ends as leader of the super majority.

“So I promised the President na I’ll do a good job. And then one month, two months before yung middle o yung pinag-usapan, I’ll go to him for instructions,” he said.

Velasco has yet to issue any reaction on the issue.

Malacañang, for its part, said that the President will not interfere and will let House members elect their own leader.

“Nasa members of Congress ‘yun. Actually, they are the ones choosing the Speaker,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

“I don’t think he interferes. His style is he doesn’t interfere unless you ask him to,” he added.

It can be recalled that the race for House Speakership got heated when a number of lawmakers including Cayetano, Velasco and Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez expressed interest in the speakership post.

The issue had divided House members until Duterte himself intervened and endorsed Cayetano as Speaker, who will share the term with Velasco.

In the same agreement, Romualdez was given the job as House Majority Floor Leader. — RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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