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FOI Bill good as dead; Evardone hit for ‘legislative malpractice’

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FOI Bill good as dead; Evardone hit for ‘legislative malpractice’

/ 03:40 PM January 31, 2013

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, chairman of the House committee on public information. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Freedom of Information Bill is as good as dead in the House of Representatives with very little chance of moving on within the last three session days, its main sponsor said on Thursday.

Eastern Samar Representative said it was time to give up at this point and House Bill 6766 stood “very little chance” of hurdling discussions in plenary.

The bill has not made it past its sponsorship stage yet.

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Evardone, the chairman of the House committee on public information, saw little time left to approve the bill in the 15th Congress.

They have only until Wednesday next week to finish work before the campaign period starts.

Lawmakers have earlier suspected that Malacañang did not want the bill passed but Evardone maintained that this information was “unfounded.”

“Malacañang cooperated with the committee in the crafting of the bill. There was no word that reached me that Malacañang is against it,” he said.

Youth advocates have meanwhile expressed disappointment over Evardone’s apparent “surrender.”

“It was ‘Doctor’ Evardone who declared that the FOI Bill was ‘dead’ due to lack of time and quorum in the House of Representatives. However, it is clear that the main cause was ‘legislative malpractice’ on his part,” said Carlo Brolagda, convenor of the FOI Youth Initiative.

“He made us wait until the final months before the start of the 2013 elections, and made so many excuses like the absence of a Liberal Party position on the bill to the unavailability of a room to house the meeting,” he said.

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