Don’t kill FOI Bill yet – Tañada
MANILA, Philippines — Don’t kill the Freedom of Information Bill yet, its principal author in the House of Representatives said Thursday.
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III was reacting to reports on Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone’s comment that the bill was likely dead in the 15th Congress, given that it only had three session days ahead to be passed.
Authors of the bill have yet to finish the measure’s sponsorship period due to lack of quorum and moves by the minority to bloc its developments.
On whether the bill was facing its end, Tañada said “hindi pa naman (Not yet). I heard Ben is waiving the white flag. I guess it is his nature.”
“The records of the committee and the history of FOI will judge him. I hope he delegates his authority to me or to Representative (Teddy) Baguilat or Representative (Walden) Bello so we can debate the FOI on the floor with anyone who is interested to debate with the sponsors,” he said.
Tañada added that he would rather “try to push for the FOI as far as I and the sponsors can and let it be known that it was again the House members, including the minority, who killed FOI due to lack of quorum.”
Authors of the bill have earlier pointed to the minority bloc as having prevented them from proceeding with delivering sponsorship speeches.
Until Wednesday night, only Evardone, Tañada and Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat have delivered their speeches.
Bello said he sought to reclassify his privilege speech on Monday as his sponsorship speech but this was opposed by House minority leader Danilo Suarez.
Cibac Representative Sherwin Tugna, a co-author of the bill, said that it was frustrating that they could not defend the measure due to lack of quorum.
“If Representative Ben (Evardone) refuses to delegate his authority, then it becomes quite obvious to everyone that he also doesn’t want FOI to be debated on the floor,” Tañada said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.