MANILA, Philippines — Expect tension when legislators meet anew to tackle the Freedom of Information Bill at the House of Representatives.
Tempers flared in the House committee on public information’s hearing last November 13 after its chairman, Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone, blocked efforts to put the consolidated version of the bill to a vote.
Akbayan Representative Walden Bello, a co-author of the bill, was one of the legislators who pressed Evardone to allow the consolidated version to be voted on.
Nueva Ecija Representative Rodolfo Antonino, who wants a “right of reply” provision in the FOI bill, meanwhile, tried to halt motions for voting on the consolidated version.
Bello told reporters in a text message that he would once again “restate the motion and demand that a vote be taken since it had been seconded by (Cagayan de Oro) Representative Rodriguez.”
“I do not see how they can stop the vote from taking place,” he said.
Members of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) also vowed to monitor the hearing later at 1:30 p.m. They even made phone calls to the offices of the members of the public information panel to see who would show up in the hearing.
Meanwhile, Evardone has also given assurance that the FOI bill would be their sole agenda for the hearing later. He dispelled rumors that the panel would again place the FOI bill last in its agenda like the last hearing.
“Yun lang ang nasa agenda,” he told reporters in a text message.