Latest Stories

FOI bill faces delay in House panel


Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone. FILE PHOTO

The freedom of information (FOI) bill faces more delay and is not yet headed for the House plenary for debates this week, as earlier announced.

According to public information committee chairman Rep. Ben Evardone, his panel has to meet yet again to approve its committee report on the FOI bill before the matter can be brought to the floor for deliberations. He set the next committee hearing on Dec. 11.

One of the bill’s proponents, Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III, met the development with dismay, saying that another hearing was unnecessary and would just further delay proceedings.

The House of Representatives has only nine session days remaining this year, and will

adjourn on Dec. 22. The FOI bill still has to hurdle a vote on second and third reading.

But before that, it is expected to encounter opposition from those who insist on inserting a right-of-reply provision in the measure.

Evardone, who earlier said he planned to submit the committee report to the plenary this week, explained that the rules committee reminded his secretariat that under House procedures, such reports needed to be considered in a formal meeting and approved by majority of the panel members prior to going to the House body.

At the last hearing on the FOI bill, the public information committee voted 17-3 to pass the measure, and it was only after approval that the committee report could be drafted.

Evardone said he scheduled a hearing for Dec. 11 for the approval of the report, and asked the rules committee to schedule his sponsorship speech and the debates on the FOI bill on Dec. 12.

Deliberations soon


“The rules [committee] assured me that once we approve the committee report, we will start the deliberations on the floor of the bill ASAP,” Evardone told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday.

He said his initial plan was to circulate the FOI report among the public information committee members for their signatures, and submit it to the plenary once the signatures were complete. But he said he received reports that this might be questioned.

“So we will just have to go through the motion of approving it by the committee to avoid a technicality problem,” he said.

In a phone interview, Tañada said the committee report only needed the signature of the members and they could sign it this week.

Plenary submission


There was no need for another hearing, since the practice in the House committees was to have the members sign reports before submitting them to the plenary, Tanada said. Other bills followed a similar process, he pointed out.

“That can be accomplished this week. No need to hold a committee hearing for that.”

He said he would volunteer to take charge in circulating the report among panel members for their signature, adding that the 17-3 vote for the bill was unlikely to change anyway.

Calling another hearing would further stall the bill, he said.

“This act of calling for another hearing is just another delay.”

“Kung gusto, maraming paraan, kung ayaw, maraming dahilan [If you want something, you can find many ways to do it; but if you don’t want to, you can find a lot of excuses],” he said.

FOI proponents earlier said that if the bill fails to pass on third and final reading before the year ends, it is unlikely to become law. Congress members are expected to be preoccupied with preparations for the May elections next year.

The FOI bill adopts government policy the full public disclosure of transactions involving the public interest, subject to certain limitations—such as information relating to national security and defense.

Also among the exceptions were the ones suggested by Malacañang, including “official records of minutes and advice given and opinions expressed during decision-making or policy formulation, invoked by the President to be privileged by reason of sensitivity or impairment of the presidential deliberative process; and data related to law enforcement and defense.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Congress , FOI Bill , Government , Legislation

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • 4 Etihad passengers not yet located
  • DAR to complete installation of Luisita land reform beneficiaries in May
  • Ex-COA chief and co-accused in Arroyo plunder case nabbed
  • Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  • The ‘link diagram’ that killed ex-Bataan police officer
  • Sports

  • NLEX holds off Jumbo Plastic for a playoff berth
  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Lifestyle

  • Summer Mayhem: The ultimate beach experience
  • A haven for steak lovers
  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • DOLE sees more Filipinos hired by South Koreans
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Marketplace