Info bill passage at House committee level remains uncertainBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines—Like the Reproductive Health Bill, what the similarly controversial Freedom of Information Bill needs is a consensus between the supporters and opponents of the measure.
“Any bill, for that matter, that is controversial so long as there is consensus then there’s hope (it will be passed),” House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said in a media forum on Thursday.
But he admitted: “At times, it is the consensus which is very difficult to achieve.”
The FOI Bill, whose principal author is House deputy speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, has yet to hurdle its lengthy deliberations at the House committee on public information chaired by Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone.
Evardone earlier admitted that the proposed measure was not a priority of the Aquino administration. But Tañada said that the measure first needs to get past Evardone’s committee.
Backed by 117 legislators, Tañada is pushing to get the bill to the plenary where other lawmakers can raise their issues on the measure.
“With the FOI, although it’s controversial, there are opponents but as soon as a consensus is achieved, it will be easy to shepherd (the measure),” said Gonzales.
When the House of Representatives becomes busy with budget deliberations, Gonzales said that no committees will function to ensure that there will always be a quorum at the plenary.
He said that committees will resume work by October but the FOI Bill will first need to be passed in the committee level.
“We were sidetracked by the RH bill,” Gonzales said.