Another setback for FOI bill


Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III had said that if the bill was not sponsored on the floor Wednesday, prospects for its passage may dim. FILE PHOTO

The much awaited introduction of the freedom of information (FOI) bill on the floor of the House of Representatives was delayed anew after a controversy over another matter—a local government measure—sparked the suspension of Tuesday’s legislative session.

“This does not look good,” said Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, one of the FOI bill’s advocates, but he said he still held out some hope  the bill may yet pass muster even with only seven session days left before Congress adjourns to give way to the election period.

Before the FOI bill could be introduced on the floor, Davao del Sur Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas sought an adjournment to prevent the House from reading into the records the new law creating the province of Davao Occidental.

Tañada said he would have objected to Cagas’ motion, but there was no quorum. There were not enough lawmakers around, he explained.

Davao Occidental was carved out of Davao del Sur, and Cagas had opposed the move, which was authored by his political opponent.

Tañada said he and other lawmakers tried to prevail on Cagas not to move for adjournment, but the latter was adamant in opposing the reading of the republic act on Davao Occidental.

Absurd situation


The House leadership could not have postponed the reading of that law into the records because it was listed  in the order of business, Tañada added.

“It’s very absurd that a parochial issue stops a bill we can all agree [is] a bill of national importance such as the FOI,” he said.

The FOI bill adopts a government policy of full public disclosure of transactions involving public interest, subject to certain limitations or exemptions  on the disclosure of information related to national security and defense.

Tañada had said that if the bill was not sponsored on the floor Wednesday, prospects for its passage may dim.  He earlier criticized Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, public information committee chairman,  for not introducing the bill earlier so the period of debates and amendments can begin.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t look good for the whole house,” he added.

“We will try again tomorrow,” Tañada had said.

The Senate has already passed its version of the FOI bill on third and final reading.

Earlier setback


Earlier, the bill seemed to suffer a setback when members of the party-list coalition Makabayan announced it was withdrawing its co-authorship of the FOI bill because it did not agree with the exemptions introduced by Malacañang.

The exemptions Makabayan wants removed include matters of executive privilege, data pertaining to military and police operations, drafts of executive orders, and minutes of meetings. The militants said they would try to remove these exceptions during the period of amendments.

Malacañang defended these exemptions, saying public disclosure of all discussions (in minutes of meetings) may inhibit Cabinet members and other participants from expressing their views frankly and candidly.

When asked if the President would certify this bill as urgent as he had done in the case of the reproductive health bill, Undersecretary Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, replied:

“Perhaps at this point it’s not about the importance (of the bill) but whether the discussions have  fully threshed out  the issue at hand.”

Extensive deliberation


If anything, it needs “extensive deliberation,” she said.

Responding to arguments that the exemptions on executive privilege were “too broad,” Valte said Malacañang had in fact eased up earlier proposed exemptions.

“In some of the versions, executive privilege extended up to local government officials who would have interaction with the President. We said it should not reach that level. It could be up to the rank of undersecretary, or a sub-Cabinet post,” she said.

As to the exemptions on national security, Valte said details of an ongoing operation by law enforcement agencies could definitely not be divulged.  But she said the bill provides for a declassification of documents after a certain period.

Valte said the exemption of  national security matters from public disclosure was recognized by the country’s jurisprudence, and by other countries enforcing similar FOI laws.

She said Malacañang was pushing for an FOI bill granting people access to information vital to public interest “without hampering necessarily the work of government.”

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  • Weder-Weder Lang

    Hindi pa ba obvious?

    The administration and Pnoy’s allies in the congress have no intention of passing the FOI bill.

    The administration and the SC deferred the oral argument to delay the proceedings, intending to let the TRO against the anti-cybercrime law exprie by Feb 06, 2013.

    Freedom of information and online freedom be damned. The message could not be any clearer.

    • jurbinsky77

      Since you know something I hardly have any inkling, please explain why the administration would not want the FOI Bill enacted into law.

      • superpilipinas

        ok. he-he-he. here’s why it is obvious…

        the administration will rally their congress allies whenever they want a bill passed into law. clear example: RH bill and Sin Tax bill. PNoy would invite his allies and dangle the pork on their faces so they will rubber stamp what the administration wants. they climbed mountains and swam the oceans in order for RH to become a law. Congress likes these bills. One generates billions of pesos while the other spends billions of pesos.

        so let me ask you, why isn’t the administration doing the same for FOI?

        simple answer, it’s allies in congress does not like FOI. It’s like giving them a gun to commit suicide. or signing their own arrest warrant.

        if the administration pushes this FOI, it will lose most of its allies.


        it’s called CORRUPTION.

        As you can read in the internet, only good countries have FOI. and people in those countries have voters with a high level of maturity in terms of voting for the right people into government.

      • etomacq

        Sana naman malinawan na si jurbinsky77.. pag kumontra yan malamang member yan ng Tongress or solid fan ni Noynoy.

    • superpilipinas

      I can’t agree with you more. But then some people still are just clueless!

  • superpilipinas

    It’s our fault.Pinoy voters ingeneral are so immature or uneducated that they vote these clowns into public office.Guys please, let’s just get rid of them in 2013. Give yourself and our country a chance.

    • Carlos_Iho

      In a country where everyone is a clown, how can you vote for a non-clown?  Seriously, most of the voters will not and cannot read your message.  As commonly said here in the middle east, “What to do?”

      • superpilipinas

        Nope. There are 80 Million Pinoys. The clowns are in the executive and legislative branches of the circus. Know what I mean?

        Don’t vote for those clowns. Vote for new alternatives and independents. They are worth trying. Better than getting stuck with clowns. 

        Talk about it. Pass the message.

    • Pok2

       You are right. Vote for new faces and principles. The rest are just self serving Clowns taking advantage of poor Juan de la Cruz. Mig Zubiri is promising free health care. These clowns has been promising it forever since the 50’s. That’s it. It’s just a promise. Sila lang ang nabubusog. Mga hayup sila.

  • where_I_stand

    If there is a will, there’s a way to pass this bill.

    Ito naman si Erin Tanada ayaw pa aminin na ayaw nila ng FOI.
    Ang sakit nito, kung sakali maging batas ito sa Congress na ito,
    parang hilaw ng bibingka ang kalalabasan nito, kulang sa init!

    Tama ang ginawa ng mga Bayan and friends to withdraw their sponsorship.
    Most likely, isabatas nila ito pero watered down na.

  • where_I_stand

    “Perhaps at this point it’s not about the importance (of the bill) but
    whether the discussions have  fully threshed out the issue at hand.”–Valte

    Ang galing talaga ni Lady Gaga. Sabi ni Farinas, palusot!

    • etomacq

      Hindi naman reliable ang pinagsasabi ni Valte.. Hindi talaga maalis sa isip ko ng ipagdakdakan ny sa media na legitimate shoot out ang Atimonana incident. Madami na rin press release yan na puro sablay. 

      Kaya makita ko palang mukha nyan natatawa na ako.. Parang may hawig sya kay Bella Flores.. Yun kilay lagpas noo. ha ha ha ha!

  • Pok2

    Executive privilege exemption. Tuwad na daan nga ang pupuntahan nito.

    • etomacq

      Bakit may exemption? Di ba dapat ang batas ay para sa lahat? Pwede bang sabihin ng Malacang na ito lang ang pwede magnakaw at ang iba ay hindi. 

  • txtman














  • boypalaban

    para sa inyo mga pulitikong ayaw sa FOI at sa inyong balahurang pamilya (damay damay na):

  • jurbinsky77

    Have anyone read the FOI Bill?

    It covers disclosure of government records when the public request for them, not for personal information. What is missing in the proposed bill is the matter on security involving the state’s policy and the military programs.

    The last item has to be inserted before formal deliberation. It is not about screwing the people. Dis-abuse your minds about the government secret agenda.

    The FOI Bill should have been introduced during gloria’s term. So many hanky-panky. And this PDAF or pork barrel should be the target of public scrutiny, or perhaps the records of transactions of the Binay dynasty.

    • TagaKalos

      Bakit mo nasabi na dapat inintroduce ang FOI Bill sa panahon ng term ni Gloria HUNGHANG? Bakit sa panahon ba ng Rehimeng kasalukuyan na pinamumunuan ng idolo mong presidente sa malakanyang na inutil at bakla ay hindi kailangan ang FOI Bill? Hoy, ayos ayusin mo yung lohika ng iyong komento dahil wala to sa hulog OGAG.  Kala mo kung sino kang marunong eh BOPOLS ka rin OGAG uli! 

  • cute79

    takot sila sa FOI dahil puro sila magnanakaw at di na sila makakanakaw pa!gagawa lang sila ng batas na pabor sa kanila yong laging puno ang kanilang mga bulsa.

  • etomacq

    Mas binigyan pansin nila ang RH Bill para lipulin at iwasan ang pagdami ng mahihirap na Pilipino pero wala sila balak lipulin ang mga korakot at magnanakaw  sa gobyerno.

    Walang mahirap kung walang korap!

    Para saan pa ang tranparency sa gobyerno na sinabi nya noong namamalimos pa sya ng boto?

    Si Noynoy ay isang TRAPO.

  • patawad

    Di pagkakwartahan ang FOI, kaya di makakapasa.  At saka mga politikos ang maaapektuhan ng bill na to kung mapasa/  Biruin ninyo kung ipapasiwalat lahat ng kanilang accomplishments versus the expenses or disbursements made, nakupo, una na si panot madadale, eh walang na accomplish nuon pa, pero ubos pondo niya.

  • Coffee

    Boooooo! Its soo disgusting to see the distorted prioritization the Abnoy government is displaying on this matter. Condoms daw ang sagot sa paghihirap at di pagtangal ng corruption. Kaya nila itulak ang mga congress para ipasa ang RH bill pero ito na mas makakatulong sa bayan pinabayaan. To the Abnoy fans asan na superman nyo???

  • Rovingmoron

    Approval of this bill into law will make it more transparent for the public to know what the lawmakers are hiding in their use of the PDAF. That’s why they are delaying it.

  • jurbinsky77

    Even the US FOI has anticipated that problems will arise if these items are not ironed out well enough. Here are some of those that are definitely missing in the Philippine version of FOI Bill:

    1. Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order.

    The agents of enemies of the country would be able to know what defense equipment do we have in our ships and aircraft.

    2. Those matters that are related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;pecifically exempted from disclosure by statute, provided that such statute requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld.

    3. Trade secrets and commercial or financial information that are illegally obtained.

    4. Privileged or confidential inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency.

    5. Personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    6. Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source, would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law, or could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institution.

    7. Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, wells, pipelines and control devices.

    The FOI Bill is was presented in a haphazard manner. There must be safeguards against abuse and rights of privacy.

    Just consider this scenario: geological findings that was gathered by a company that invested in seismic, hydrographic and geological analyses would be forced to be shared with another interested entity.

  • bogli_anakdami

    wala namang silbi ang foi na yan…

    ‘sang tambaks ang batas against graft and corruption, pero ang mga hinayupak na traposakals eh sige pa rin ang pagnanakaw…

    at ating mga supremo abugagos and uniformed thugs allah eh panay nakatunganga sa langit… walang hinuhuling magnanakaws…

  • june

    rep. erin tanada is fighting a lonely, if not hopeless, battle for the foi bill since the body language of pnoy(and that of malacanang) is so transparent in his lack of interest / support which is in sharp contrast to his commitment during his campaign for the presidency.  wika nga, kung gugustuhin may paraan, kung talagang ayaw, maraming dahilan 

  • parengtony

    I am unable to reconcile PNoy’s “daang matuwid” as well as “kung walang korap walang mahirap”
    vis a vis the current attitude of Malacanang re FOI Bill. The biggest global anti-corruption NGO, Transparency International, is so named for the simple reason that transparency in governance is the single most important factor in any anti-corruption campaign. 

    I dare say that an honest to goodness transparency law applicable to all the different justice system departments will go a long way in reforming the Philippine justice system, starting from the baranggay level all the way up to the Supreme Court. 

    Similarly, In Congress such a law would have an immediate impact on the Pork Barrel system that has gone berserk in the gross misappropriations of the people’s money.

    Indeed, this issue is very revealing as to who among our officials are Senator Diokno or Saguisag types and who are just plain trapos/kurakots.

  • kilabot

    foi passage is like chasing the wind. 
    every politician has something to hide. 
    noykapon, binay, enrile, belmonte, sereno et al. have a bones-ful closet.

  • disqusted0fu

    As expected, the administration and their allies are trying to kill the bill. Delaying it as much as they can until congress adjourns. That’s the main purpose of the RH bill, to divert people’s attention to that, making it look as if it is important and much needed but in actuality, they were just covering up the importance of the FOI bill and preventing its passage.

    People should already know this tactic of the administration by now, it’s already been three years that they have been doing this. What is it that the Aquino administration is trying to hide that they are so scared of the public finding out?

    • boypalaban

      na magkasama si pnoy at miriam sa iisang ward sa mental hospital…

  • poltergeist_fuhrer

    nothing unusual…

    and penoy is smiling great…he ahs congress to lean on…not the senate…

  • Albert Einstien

    anong expectation ke PNOYCCHIO————————————> election promise pa nya yan ilang taon na….ng naka-upo na nagbibingibingihan na……pero pag gusto ni pnoy half day lang napa-impeach nga nya si corona…sya humaharang jan…pag me FOI…mabubulatlat ang mga tagong yaman ng mga KKK at mga ginawa nilang kabulastugan…  : < (

    • poltergeist_fuhrer



  • Concerned Citizen

    President Aquino should push for the FOI Bill now.  To defer the law is a mistake as no one will support the FOI Bill of a President who is about to leave his office.  Legacy is at stake here and time is running out.  Increase support to the administration party by making the FOI Law a reality.

    • poltergeist_fuhrer

      increased support???majority are allies of penoy…bakit hindi niya maipasa at sabihan ang congress na URGENT….


      • Concerned Citizen

         I mean make the administration candidates have a better chance in the coming elections by having a major accomplishment to get the support of voters and make up for the lost votes caused by the pro-China senators in his party

      • poltergeist_fuhrer

        what accomplishment??

        BAM aguino has accomplsment? pa cute at tweetums lang ang alam

        Hontiveros has accomplishment?pakikibaka lang at rally to defend his boss penoy and hacienda luisita ang alam…at during disaster nasa taas ng army truck kumakaway, nangangampanya…

        si chiz escudero na nakipaghiwalay sa misis?

        si loren na panay upo lang sa senado???

        sino pa???d ko na alam kasi wala naman sila ginawa…

  • Maldi2

    nasabi ko na, noon pa man

    Pangako ni
    Panot at ay walang paglagyan

    Ito’y ginamit
    sa kampanya laban kay Gloria

    FOI daw ay
    agad isabatas pag-upo nya


    Pero bakit sa
    FOI, tila malamig pa sa bangkay si Panot?

    Ano kayang  sekreto sa malakanyang ito’y maidulot?

    Pangakong  tuwid na daan ay saan ba talaga tutungo?

    Di ba’t halata
    sa bulsa lang ba ng iilang pili at taga loob?


    Ang daming
    dahilan, keso ganito, keso ganyan

    Simple lang,
    ang pundo ng bayan ay peding paglaruan

    Kay daming
    istorya at palabas upang tayo’y malinlang

    Ang masakit,
    ginagawa nilang tanga ang sambayanan!

  • Your_King

    So in other words the Freedom of Information is not very important as far as the government is concerned. There are always setbacks and delays which has been come to known as typical politics. Who even knows if this will help the country once it gets passed but again with the delays we will all have to wait to see that. But while all teh delays and setbacks to initiatives that are supposed to be for the improvement of the nation, all the Senators and Congressmen and the President still get paid big bucks…that never gets delayed or gets setbacks unless of course you are on the Aquino naughty list then your money gets withheld.

  • jga94

    I am for the passage of FOI Bill but I also agree that there should be exemptions to this bill….information on vital.sensitive issues which could jeopardize security of the country and certainly there could be info which will be used, contorted and abused….

    But if the Senate has already passed its own version….why can’t the House?

  • Bantay

    walang mangyaring FOI bill kung walang basbas ng Pangulo.ang tanong,bakit ba ayaw ng ating pangulo na i certify as urgent ang bill na ito nagawa naman nya sa ibang bill kagaya ng RH at Sin tax bill? may tinatagong rin ba siyang baho??? nasaan na sinasabi nya noong panahon sa kampanya na suportado nya ang FOI bill kung siya ang mananalo??? drawing lang pala!


    Because NO PORK & PERKS offered by Noynoy to pass the Bill….unlike the CONDOM & PILLS BILL.

    Hahahahaha! Mga matatalinong Pinoy (daw), naloko lang ng isang abnoy!

  • princessmilky


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