Manila Standard Today, 9/15/09 reported that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday doubted the constitutionality of a proposed legislation that would lay down the rules on presidential succession in case the 2010 elections, the first fully-automated polls in Philippine history, should fail.
The measure would authorize 12 senators with terms extending to 2011 to elect a new Senate president within their ranks to assume the role of interim president of the Republic if no new president is proclaimed on or before June 30, 2010 due to the breakdown of the electoral process.
The proposal, as suggested by some legal luminaries, was to fill a leadership vacuum that could trigger constitutional crisis and political turmoil in the country. The potential problem partly stems from the fact that Enrile’s term as Senate President would end on June 30, 2010 although he is running for reelection.
Because of Enrile’s doubts, Senator Loren Legarda withheld filing the bill that would lay down the procedures by which the 12 non-reelectionists would elect the Senate president from among themselves before Congress adjourns in June.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives should decide on such succession scheme, Senator Francis Escudero, chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments, said.
The question remains: What can and should our lawmakers do to prevent chaos in May 2010 should the Comelec be prevented from proclaiming winners due to breakdown of the electoral process?