Lawmakers dismayed with Evardone over stalled vote on FOI bill
MANILA, Philippines — The way Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone handled the second hearing on the controversial Freedom of Information Bill has dismayed the main proponent of the measure.
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III told reporters that he was disappointed with Evardone’s performance as chairman of the House committee on public information.
The said the panel has just failed to vote on the consolidated version of 15 bills seeking transparency on government transactions. Evardone insisted that they could not put the consolidated bill to a vote because of contentious issues which have yet to be resolved.
And when lawmakers angrily demanded that they still push through with voting, Nueva Ecija Representative Rodolfo Antonino said that they had no time to vote.
During the hearing, Antonino insisted on questioning Tañada, chairman of the technical working group on the FOI Bill, on why he did not consider the Nueva Ecija lawmaker’s version of the bill which included a provision on the right of reply.
Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño said that moves to delay the voting on the proposed measure was deliberate since there were enough legislators present to form a quorum.
Until the end Akbayan Representative Walden Bello and Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez tried to urge the committee to put the FOI Bill to a vote but failed.
“Such incompetence can only be deliberate,” said Casiño.
Evardone stalled and suspended the hearing while Bello and Rodriguez pounded on the table demanding for voting to begin, at one time even going over to other lawmakers to discuss the House of Representatives’ rules and calling someone on his phone.
Despite this, Tanada still sees a glimmer of hope as there’s still a hearing scheduled on November 27. “We can crawl but we can always crawl fast,” he told reporters.
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