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    Posted February 23, 2014 by

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    Philippines proposes law on succession


    WHAT if there's failure of elections for the position of President and Vice President, and Congress has yet to elect their Senate President and Speaker?
    "Just like nature, power hates a vacuum. Once a power vacuum exists, a host of power-seeking forces rush in to fill the void," surmised Bayan Muna Partylist lawmakers who proposed that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall act as Interim President.
    Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate on Sunday said they are anticipating a remote, but possible scenario the country would not wish to experience. This is the reason they authored HB 3841 or the proposed "Interim Succession Act."
    HB 3841 provides "for a System of interim succession for the position of President in the event that there is failure of elections for the position of President and Vice-President and the Senate and the House of Representatives have yet to elect their President and Speaker, respectively, and for other purposes."
    Article VII, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution provides: "Where no President or Vice President shall have been chosen or shall have qualified or when both shall have died or become permanently disabled, the President of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall act as President until a President or a Vice President shall have been chosen and qualified."
    The said constitutional provision, the authors pointed out, does not contemplate a situation where there is general failure of the national elections.
    "Should there be massive and national brown outs, or a debilitating and fatal virus attack on or widespread hacking or the automated election system, or a complete breakdown of the automated national elections, there is that realistic possibility that no President, Vice President or member of Congress are elected," Colmenares explained.
    He added that even if the Senate is a "continuing body," the twelve remaining senators cannot elect the President of the Senate as they no longer constitute the majority of the members of the Senate, thereby creating a vacuum that could lead the country into a major political crisis and disorder is very likely to follow suit.
    Furthermore, the authors argued that the Administrative Code cannot also be the source of guidance since it does not contemplate a grant of authority to the incumbent President to rule the country in a holdover capacity
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