MANILA, Philippines—Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Thursday dared Malacañang to certify the freedom of information (FOI) bill as urgent so Congress may act on it before it adjourns in February.
Congress will resume its sessions on January 21 and will adjourn on February 8 to pave way for the upcoming midterm elections in May.
“If (President Benigno Aquino III does not certify it), obvious na ayaw ng Malacañang,” Sotto said.
If Malacañang had certified the passage of the reproductive health bill as urgent even if the country was divided on the issue, then Sotto wondered why the FOI bill could not be certified even if the majority of people are demanding for it.
The bill has already been approved in the Senate but remains pending in the House of Representatives.
Unlike Sotto, Senator Gringo Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on public information and mass media, said he would just leave it up to Malacañang to decide whether or not to issue a certification on the FOI bill.
“I”ll just leave it to the better judgment of Malacañang,” Honasan said in a phone interview.
But it would be “sad,” he said, if the House will not be able to pass the measure before the February adjournment of both chambers.
Honasan explained that if the bill would not be approved this 14th Congress, the new Congress in June this year would have to start deliberations on it from the very beginning
“This will be the second time that it has happened,” he pointed out.