FOI Bill authors to try to meet with Aquino
MANILA, Philippines—Authors of the Freedom of Information Bill are gearing up to meet with President Benigno Aquino III next week in a bid to improve the measure’s chances of getting past deliberations at the House of Representatives.
Akbayan Partylist Representative Walden Bello, one of its co-authors, said that they were preparing to speak with Aquino once he gets back from his Davos trip. “We will try to speak to him on Tuesday, shortly after he gets back from Davos.”
But that was not all that the proponents had up their sleeves, he added, pointing out that they were preparing a delegation of representatives from diverse sectors to meet with the President and push to save the FOI Bill.
The time left for the House of Representatives to discuss and approve the measure has dwindled from nine session days to six.
For the first three session days this year, few lawmakers showed up for session and although the roll was not called for all three days, authors of the FOI measure admitted that there were not enough lawmakers present to ensure that the bill was tackled.
At this point, Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat, another co-author, earlier said that it was important that Aquino certify the bill as urgent in order to hasten its proceedings at the lower chamber.
But Nueva Ecija Representative Rodolfo Antonino said it was not likely to get the nod of lawmakers unless the authors of the measure agree to include the right-of-reply provision.
“I think the authors are ignoring the true sentiment of the congressmen just because they are in power,” Antonino added.
Aside from the right-of-reply provision he sought, he said other lawmakers were worried that the bill, once enacted, could be too intrusive and would be a risk to the right to privacy.
But Bello would rather that the bill fail to get the House’s nod this time rather than agree to a right-of-reply provision.
“My sense it’s better to lose now with the bill as is rather than have a bill with Right of Reply provision filed in the 16th Congress,” he said.
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