House deliberations on FOI Bill may yet be held in NovemberBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives may yet get to deliberate on the controversial Freedom of Information Bill next month, according to Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone.
In a text message to reporters on Friday, Evardone said he has been ordered by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to resume talks on the bill during the week of October 15. But it seems scheduling of discussions on the bill is easier said than done, he added.
In his text message, Evardone reasoned “nakapila kamo sa conference room assignment. Our slot is on October 23 but we will go on recess on October 20. So if we can’t get a room before October 23, we will meet on our next slot November 6 and November 20.”
November was the first schedule Evardone initially confirmed with the media way back before the national budget was approved but this earned opposition from the bill’s proponent Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III who earlier expressed hope that the hearings occur on either October 9 or 10. “Why November when it can be in October?” was Tañada’s reply to questions then on whether a November hearing would be too late.
Asked for a reaction to Evardone’s text message that hearings might once again be pushed to November, Tañada said: “The Speaker told Rep. Evardone to call a hearing on the week of October 15. I will report to the Speaker.”