House: Hello, good-bye to FOI bill



Rep. Ben Evardone: I’m waving the white flag. FILE PHOTO

A few days after finally sponsoring the freedom of information (FOI) bill on the House floor, public information committee chairman Rep. Ben Evardone is waving the white flag, saying there is simply not enough time left to pass the long-pending measure.

Evardone made the statement Wednesday night as he noted that debates on the measure had not even begun.

“[I’m waving the] white flag,” he told reporters.

The bill finally reached the plenary on Monday by way of sponsorship speeches by Evardone and Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, the bill’s main author. Supporters said lack of a quorum was the reason the debate did not push through.

Even if it is passed on second reading next week, the bill would need another three days before it could undergo a third reading vote. Only three session days remain before Congress adjourns for the election campaign period.

June meet slated


Congress will meet again, but for only one day in June, before adjourning for the final time and Evardone does not think a vote could be taken then. There may even be a lot of lawmakers absent then, he said.

Evardone said the bill could be revived only if President Aquino certified it as urgent. Certification would allow a second and third reading vote on the bill on the same day.

“If Erin Tañada can secure a certification, this might revive the FOI bill,” he said.

Presidential spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda, however, said Thursday the bill should be subjected to a “healthy debate,” the kind that attended the responsible parenthood and reproductive health bill and the sin tax reform measure before they were passed into law.

Both bills were approved by Congress late last year and enacted into law by President Aquino, after several years of debate.

“Whether this Congress or the next Congress, we want a healthy debate to take place. That’s what we want and, in fairness to all constituents, let’s have a healthy debate,” Lacierda said in a Palace briefing.

‘Healthy debate’


Asked if President Aquino wanted the FOI bill approved before he steps down in 2016, Lacierda said the Chief Executive was interested in seeing how the House debate would turn out.

“What we want right now is a healthy debate and let’s take it from there,” he said.

The Senate has passed its version of the FOI bill.

Lacierda said the FOI bill proponents themselves had indicated that they had “no qualms” about the Aquino administration’s transparency, but were worried about the next administration.

“I say this without lifting our own bench. The FOI proponents believe and this is what they said, what they mentioned to us: ‘We are not afraid that this administration will not be transparent.’ In fact we have been very transparent and, in fact, we intend to show you the list of measures that we have done to show that we have been transparent in our transactions,” Lacierda said.

But another of the bill’s proponents, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, said he was not surprised by Evardone’s “surrender,” adding that it was the latter who appeared to be holding the bill back in his committee with numerous delays and his apparent lack of will to push it in the plenary.

Baguilat said he considered the bill to be in “limbo.”

“I don’t like calling it dead. I’d like to think the FOI is Snow White slumbering and waiting for a prince to resuscitate it,” Baguilat said.

“If no Aquino certification comes as a last-minute lifeline, then we will continue the fight in the next Congress,” he said.

Advocates of the FOI bill have also blamed Evardone for its delay, accusing him of “dribbling” the measure and not scheduling committee hearings so that time would run out on it.

Evardone denied the allegations, saying he had waited for comments from the bill’s stakeholders before coming out with the final version of the measure.

As for the 117 lawmakers who signed the statement of support for the FOI bill, Evardone said lawmakers usually signed such statements as a gesture of goodwill to their colleagues. But he did not think that most of them really supported the measure.

“Otherwise, they would have shown up and pushed for it,” he said.

FOI in a nutshell


The bill would allow public access to government dealings and documents in line with a policy of full disclosure. It is intended to foster good governance and promote transparency and accountability in government.

Tañada, however, refused to pronounce the measure dead.

He said that if Evardone thinks it won’t progress, he should delegate his authority as the bill’s sponsor to him, Baguilat or Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello so they could pursue the FOI debates in the plenary.

“I would rather try to push 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 the FOI due to a lack of quorum,” he said.

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  • zeroko

    Talagang goodbye sa FOI. Maliban lang kung may rebolusyon, walang mangyayari sa atin. Puro Chinese blood an nilukluk natin sa atng gobyerno. Sila lang kasi ang may pera. Laking negosyo na, mataas pa ang katungkulan sa gobyerno!

    • okayayonip

      MAG GREEN REVOLUTION KA NA LANG KAYA.”Puro Chinese blood an nilukluk natin sa atng gobyerno”….natin, kasama ka naman pala sa naglukluk eh.

  • Fulpol

    there was no available “funds” for FOI supporters in Congress… unlike in RH Bill…

    blame Abad… blame BS Aquino III…

    don’t just blame Evardone… even I hate his face.. kamukha ni Fulpol….

    • rethinking_madness

      at least…i’m real…

    • rethinking_madness

      Hate is a repressed strong emotional attraction.

      Sow love, not hate…

    • Paul

       kung may pera lang jan, matagal ng batas yan.

  • Jane Tan

    Why is he waiting for comments that may never come? Kung walang comments, eh di yan na yung final version =.=ll 

  • bogli_anakdami

    wala na bang ibang litrato is evardone?… yung mukhang tao naman…

    • rethinking_madness

       pogi ka ba? bogli ka naman! hmmmn

  • bogli_anakdami

    dang!  evardone looked like he was bitchslapped with the bill…

  • Ronald

    FOI delayed is FOI denied.  Niloloko lang ng mga to ang bayan.

  • txtman














  • Carlos_Iho

    Lacierda said the FOI bill proponents themselves had indicated that they had “no qualms” about the Aquino administration’s transparency, but were worried about the next administration.
    What a lame excuse.  This administration really thinks people are as stupid as they are.  Do they mean that nothing’s worth looking into from the president’s office, customs, police, AFP, DPWH, DECS and down to the local governments?  Is everyone in this government sooooo honest and capable?

  • Rojo

    @EVARDONE – magkano sinupalpal na pera sa yo para wag ituloy ang FOI bill. Style mo bulok.

    • rethinking_madness

      hindi lahat nabibili ng pera…
      humba tol… humba…

  • Nic Legaspi

    Sino ba yung mga hindi umaattend ng sessions sa Kongreso? Wag ngang iboto yang mga yan!

    • txtman




  • superpilipinas

    This is why we have to trash all this clowns including Aquino.

    FOI has profound impact but instead of prioritizing it, they prioritized RH.

    I’ve been saying that RH will not contribute much. Even if you give it 5 years, it will not. It will only contribute to a small percentage of people. But a lot of Pinoys were fooled by the clowns in Congress who were pushing for RH which was a disguise to prevent FOI from being passed.

    This is why after RH was passed, they immediately got to Divorce bill. The only purpose is to keep themselves corrupt by not passing FOI.

    You guys were fooled. And if you are living and just trying to survive in the Philippines, the joke of those clowns is on you.

    • txtman


      BUTI NGA
















  • Bryan Kevin O. Tung

    Evardone is the prinicipal enemy of foi bill. In the 16th congress ifugao rep baguilat, akbayan rep bello or cibac re tugna must chair d public info cmte. Not that pretentious journalist and ex-arroyo attackdog!

  • where_I_stand

    Time is suspect. No time for the “healthy debate” as the main reason why the FOI is not passed into law.

    The “healthy debate” is actually an alibi of the Aquino administration. If only the Aquino administration were honest  and considered the bill a priority, there was enough time to healthy debate to take place.

    The real culprit of the killer of the bill is none other than the Aquino administration.

    • TGM _ERICK

      You are right, Friend.  The real culprit  is not time but the president himself who doesn’t want to be audited on his expenses by the public, who doesn ‘t want to make known his SALN, who wan  ts to keep secret the killer of his father, t who wants to  keep the documents of martial law from scrutiny.  Whenever a law takes too much time to be approved like the anti dynasty law, for sure it will just be put into the dustbin for self aggrandizement has been the ulterior motives of our law makers.  :-D

  • superpilipinas

    Don’t vote for trapos, political dynasties, and showbiz personalities. They are wasting our taspayer money and worse, our future.

    Vote for independents and/or technical professionals who decide and act based on logic and on what makes sense to Pinoys. They don’t base their actions on politics and political power and survival.

    If we do this in 2013 elections, we will have FOI by 2016. Otherwise, forget FOI.

    • T4Man

      YES! Use your free thinking mind and do what is best for the country as a whole. 

  • T4Man

    Should any one of us be surprised they keep finding excuses to not vote on this bill? Obviously the last thing any Pinoy Politician wants is transparency. 

    • superpilipinas

      It was not obvious to the foolish who were deceived that RH was the most important thing on earth.

  • suburbanmother

    But of course! Who in their right mind would vote for self destruction? This is why there is lack if interest. This bill will expose these legislators highly questionable pork projects. They do not want to be lechon themselves.

    • superpilipinas

      Yes. It’s called “SELF PRESERVATION”

      The clowns in Congress are clinging to their corruption and the master clown in the Palace is protecting them so they protect him in return.

      So let’s get rid of these clowns starting 2013 elections.

    • Paul

       unless they are masochists. haha

    • ApoLapullapu

      Who would like the truth about their housemaids in the Senate payroll unveiled?

  • LegalJustice

    Don’t give up !

  • Paul

    kung may pera pa yan, sigurado pasado agad yan…

  • Garote

    To get the RH bill passed, PNoy promised to pass  the FOI bill, too. So the LP lawmakers took cue on this, passed the RH bill, but then junked the FOI bill. It’s clear now that PNoy’s “Tuwid na Daan” is just a propaganda piece to mislead the people. PNoy is just another big liar like the other presidential Trapos. He is a jerk,

  • sebastian abao

    Lacierda and plastic tongressmen, every government admnistration should be transparent and accountable!! Just because of pnoy’s tuwid na daan hoax e exempted na kayo!!! Sana lang, lahat ng relectionist na legislators, matalo dahil sa daming palusot pero ang totoo eh ayaw talaga magpasa ng FOI bill! shame on you, revenge for us who will not vote for you…

  • Sabian

    Ipapasa ni PNOY yan pag patapos na ang termino niya para hindi saklaw ng batas ang mga kalokohan ng mga galamay niya. Yan din ang huling pampapogi niya.  Laganap ang mga bogus na road repairs ngayon kahit maganda pa ang kalye e tinitibag para lang maaccomodate ang project dahil sa nalalapit na election! Ang mga pondong ginagamit sa mga ka-epalan hindi naman ma-audit dahil walang kapangyarihan ang tao para humingi ng nararapat na transparency. 

  • Sabian

    Dapat tanggalan na ng Pork Barrell tong mga tongressmen na ‘to e. Yan lang naman ang magpapaikot ng mga puwit ng mga hayop na yan e.

    • Bert

      Paano yan tanggalan ng PORK, yon lang palagi ang ginagamit ni Abad at ng Malacanang to keep these tongressmen and the senatongs on their toes, like a good and loyal DOGS…..

  • speaksoftlylove

    Itong si Everdone dapat ang apelyido nito Neverdone.

    Teka muna, bakit pa parating nagugulat ang mukha ng higad na ito? Parang may kinatatakutan palagi.

  • mekeni62

    ang daming palusot. Ayaw ni Pnoy niyan. iyon lang.

  • coty

    some clown, what he was told; “go fight a war but don’t win it”! 

  • nestleraisinets

    talaga lang ha. Pero ung cybercrime law napasa ng mabilisan. Mga sinungaling at puro sarili lang ang iniisip!!! Ang sarap batukan ng mga toh!

  • asarin

    dito ako nawawalang gana kay Pnoy… ang hindi pagtupad sa pramis nya… hmmmp!!!!

  • RyanE

    Priority bills for the 16th Congress:

    1. FOI
    2. Anti-dynasty
    3. Divorce

    • Bert

      But your Pnoy does not like all those 3. So keep dreaming…….

      • Jane Tan

        Its not that he doesn’t like them. He just can’t take sides.

        If he could freely certify any bill as urgent, why doesn’t he just certify every bill that’s put up by the LP as urgent? Sarado agad ang opposition.

      • Bert

        Kung may gusto, may paraan…..
        Kung ayaw, ang daming dahilan….

    • ApoLapullapu

      Not one of these will ever be passed into law!

  • Loggnat

    The unwavering support for the FOI bill should be one of the main requirements for candidates running for the House and the Senate in this years election. Those who are known non-supporters and fence sitters of the passing of the FOI bill should be shunned by the voters. Evardone, the quitter, shyster, delay master and excuse giver par excellence should never ever be trusted and elected again for another government position. Those who thinks and believes that the FOI bill is not that important to be urgently tackled in Congress should be not considered for election by the voters either. The nonperforming and absentee leader of the House Cong. Belmonte should be ostracized, removed and, replaced by a better leader who really cares about reform and not only paying lip service to it. The current leader of both the House and the Senate should be replaced by the younger and more idealistic new blood politician for fresh approaches and ideas in Congress’es leadership. Change is good, embrace, and make it happen now and that’s my challenge to President Benigno Aquino II , that’s if he is true in his heart about cleaning up his administration and the country’s corrupt political system.

    • ApoLapullapu

      The President has taken us for a ride.  I would see the end of President Aquino’s term in 2016 with the sight of the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill denied me.

  • FernandoBusi

    NO FoI NO LP in 2013, enough said.

  • Jimbox88

    Meron kaya Tongressman na papayag dito?

    • FernandoBusi

      Kung gugustuhin ni Penoy pwede naman eh rubber-stamp nya yang tongress kita mo sa Corona impeachment di na dumaan sa plenary para walang usapan at on schedule. 

      • magiting78

        Hnd na uubra kahit certify p n Pnoy..tapos n ang delibiration ng budget wala n sya maipapangako Pork Barell nung pinag ddebatehan ang RH Bill ginagawa ng DBM yung proposal ng budget…
        Pnoy: Sec Carandang tawagan mo nga mga Tongressman
        Carandang: Opo Sir! 
        Dumating ang mga Tongressman sa Malacanyang at may konting salo-salo
        Pnoy: ” Mga kakosa ito yung budget proposal ngaun meron kayo Pork Barell n P100M pero kung hnd nyo approved ang RH Bill gagawin na lang namin tong P5M”
        Speaker Belmonte: Mr. President I assure you ma ipapasa ang Bill hnd ba mga kasama.
        Tongressman(in one voice): Yes Mr Speaker and Mr. President.
        Makalipas ang isang Lingo.
        Pnoy: Ms Valte pakitawagan nga yung Senate Majority Leader at mga kaalyado natin sa senado
        Ms Valte: Opo Mr. President
        Dumating sa isang salo-salo mga senador
        Pnoy: Mga kasama ito yung budget proposal sa taong ito meron kau P200M pork barell, pero sa isang kondisyon ipapasa nyo ang RH Bill pag hnd gagawin lang namin P15M Pork Barell nyo…
        Drillon: Mr. President ipupush namin ang RH Bill pero kailangan namin ng ka debate at kokontra..
        Binulungan c Sotto..pwede ka ba?
        Sotto: Oo naman kayang kaya natin yan baka nakakalimutan mo artista ako kaya nating umiyak dyn..
        Pnoy: O pano sarado na usapan natin?
        Senatong: Yes Mr. President!!!!

        Ngaun ano maipapangako ni Pnoy??? hehehehe

      • FernandoBusi

        Ha ha ha … you’d make a good script writer sana gawan ng Comic book … me pera pa si Pnoy PHP300+ Billion yung ‘Special Purpose Fund’ nya. Hindi yun naka budget ng specifics lump sum lang para madali i redirect.

      • magiting78

        Hehehehe madali lng gawan yan…kita mo nmn parang scripted Legislative natin parang sarswela lang hhehehe comedy show…

  • Alfred A

    Pag-RH Bill certified as urgent but FOI kasi walang pera, hindi urgent… Sino ngayon ang HYPOCRITES???

  • ralph

    Will these crocs kill the goose which lays the golden eggs? Ofcourse not. Have you forgotten that they ran for public office for these CDFs?

  • Bert

    Quote: “Evardone said the bill could be revived only if President Aquino certified it as urgent. Certification would allow a second and third reading vote on the bill on the same day”.
    Asked if President Aquino wanted the FOI bill approved before he steps down in 2016, Lacierda said the Chief Executive was interested in seeing how the House debate would turn out. “What we want right now is a healthy debate and let’s take it from there,” he said.

    DAMI PANG PASIKOT-SIKOT. Can you just say straight that PNOY IS AGAINST THE FOI BILL, a promise he made to his bosses while campaigning in the last presidential election?The YELLOW HOARD should realize….. THEY WERE DUPED!

    • ApoLapullapu

      The “Kayo ang Boss Ko” speech was also a gimmick. There is nothing new in the Philippine politics.  

      • magiting78

        Naniwala kasi kau eh hehehe…Kayo ang Boss Ko kalokohan…mauutusan ba natin Presidente…Impeach n yan….Violation of Public Trust….lolz

  • Rae_E

    I’m very disappointed w/ PNoy for not certifying the FOI bill as urgent. The bill could have ensured his supposed “Daang Matuwid” by empowering “his bosses” in holding politicians accountable while in office.

    PNoy just squandered a historic opportunity that could have redeemed this nation from the clutches of crooked trapos!

    • ApoLapullapu

      Why should he?  After all, Daang Matuwid is only a slogan – to fool the gullible.

  • larry

    lesson learned: do not believe the promises of politicians, not even before a crowd or multitude or in front of a camera or thru TV interviews.  they should put it in writing, sign it and serves as a condition for their tenue in office

  • Rogers Nelson Uy

    Daang matuwid ba kamo? Sino ba maniniwala sa retarded na penoy na yan e abnormal yan, yan yung pangako nya nung kampanya pati hacienda luisita, buti nalang bago nila pinatalsik si corona, nagawang batas na ipamigay ang hacienda, pero hanggang ngayong hawak nya supreme court mukang matatagalan pa. iisa lang yang mga politiko, mga buwaya.

  • buttones

    Quote by Aquino—“You know, having a Freedom of Information Act sounds so good and noble—[but] there’s a tendency of getting information and not really utilizing it for proper purposes,” he said at an open forum before Southeast Asian business leaders.
    Mr. Aquino advanced another reason—inarticulate-sounding, but there it was—for his reluctance to support the bill. “If I may just add, all you have to do is read our newspapers everyday,” he said. “And I think you will agree that there is… nobody can state a fact exactly the same in all of these newspapers. An opinion commenting on the fact is OK, but an opinion masquerading as a fact does not do anyone any good.”
    [Forgive the garbled syntax but this is a direct quote]Now pick out the enthusiasm of Aquino on this issue- it simply does NOT exist.. The Presidents has NO interest, GMA has no interest, her comment when a quorum could not be obtained in the House was, “I’m disappointed’’ and it was put on the backburner, and now the same thing has happened. Every President we ever had has had the same lack of interest….I cannot see how we can have a true democracy when information is restricted- Aquino thinks there is no need for freedom of information….he gave his reasons , I am unable to interpret them, they are voiced in a language I simply don’t understand- maybe someone out there does….

    • ApoLapullapu

      The meaning of the President’s statement is simple:  He is against it..

      • buttones

        Well it certainly seems that way- I just wish politicians would be a bit more honest, a bit more straightforward and stop hiding behind endless rhetoric. I would rather more respect someone who said -”No I do not agree Freedom of Information is relative in a healthy democracy, all of our Presidents have felt the same way, including my mother, along with all the members of our Congress’ since 1946- are we to understand all these illustrious people were wrong? Giving information to the masses is unnecessary, government should be let alone to get on with government without irritating demands on their time, and people asking what they are doing- I am sure all will agree this has worked brilliantly since 1946 for the benefit of everyone- No to FOI Bill…”Now THAT is a positive speech, no ambiguity- no waffle, I understand it- I would not agree with the sentiments, they smack of a dictatorial attitude, but they are clear. It can be responded to because of it’s clarity- the Presidents comments were incomprehensible…..

  • Albert Einstien

    ASA pa kayo FOI…e MABUBULGAR jan ang mga NAKAWAN ….xempre harangin ng KKK yan…lol

    pinagLOLOKO lang kayo sa HUWAD na DAAN…nagpapaniwala kayo sa mga PNOyCCHIO…….lol

  • ApoLapullapu

    The President’s support for the bill will ensure its passage especially if he dangles the pork barrel like he did in the other administration measures.  But since his statements supporting the bill are just for “pogi” points, it can never become a law.

  • Edgardo Mendoza


  • No Mind

    Naaalala ko pa nung kapanahunan namin nila Datu Sumakwel, Datu Maragtas saka si Datu Puti (suka na ngayon) gumagawa sila noon ng batas sa harap lang ng isang galon na tuba ng niyog. Ang pulutan ay  inadobong buko na sobrang bantot ng amoy. Sa ngayon, ang congress saka senado gagastos muna ng sangkatutak na datung bago makagawa ng isang batas. Painumin kaya yan ng datu puti tig-iisang galon at ang chaser eh toyo na silver swan.

  • Edgardo Mendoza


  • sopingac

    Drama lang lahat ang tungkol sa pagsasabatas sa FOI. Polisiya nga lang ng SALN na inaplay kay Corona ay hindi magagawa sa sarili nila.

  • nparvus1202

     Ayaw kasi ng ABNoy. Mahuhuli kasi lahat kung saan saan nilagay ang pera. Daming kabalbalan ng ABNoy.

  • RJ

    Why a bill of such a good purpose has not been given so much priority and attention? 

  • kilabot

    that’s a dose of noykapon for you people. 

  • etomacq

    Wala daw support sa Congress at ang publiko para i-push ang FOI Bill???? 

    Hindi na daw kailangan ang FOI bill kasi malinis ang gobyerno ni Noynoy. 

    Pag naipasa ang FOI Bill, sigurado ko history in the making ito! Mabibistong ang gobyerno ni Noynoy ang pinaka corrupt sa buong kasaysayan ng Pilipinas.

    Bakit walang mga LINTA dito??? yung mga malalakas sumipsip kay noynoy???

    Wala ba kayo comment mga DILAW NA LINTA?

    • FernandoBusi

      Di naman cguro pinaka … just another corrupt government. Medyo may ginagawa naman eh para maibsan. Their putting up systems that will prevent anyone else but KKK from doing graft. Kumbaga sila lang at the top ang pwede,

  • Your_King

    So like it said “The bill would allow public access to government dealings and documents
    in line with a policy of full disclosure. It is intended to foster good
    governance and promote transparency and accountability in government.”

    By Aquino want pushing to have this bill pushed through clearly he is either hiding something or doesn’t believe in what this bill would do which is to foster good governance and promote transparency. What deal by Aquino’s KKK is he trying to hide from the public. This bill seems in line with his fight against corruption unless his fight against corruption is merely a selective fight against certain corruption which inherently makes it a pointless fight. To beat corruption you must be unbiased and transparent…Aquino is seemingly for neither.

  • LucasPacascas

    F**k You Ben Evardone. Para sa kaalaman ng lahat, Ben Evardone KILLED the FOI Bill on orders of PNOY. Yan kasi ang isa sa conditions imposed by the Liberal Party when Evardone bolted the Lakas Kampi of GMA when PNOY assumed the Presidency. Super sipsip itong si Evardone kay GMA noong araw, inilaglag pa niya si former House Speaker JDV nang magkaroon ng falling out between GMA and JDV because of the ZTE NBN scandal. JDV was Evardone’s patron when he set his feet in the political arena. Si JDV ang nagbigay sa kanya ng all out support para manalo. Evardone is not only a TRAPO, he is also an INGRATO and OPPORTUNIST! Ang kapal ng mukha ng ani**al na ito! 

  • mulanay

    What do you expect from Ben Evardone? He had been a corrupt trapo long ago. Tanunging nnyo ang mga kasamahan nya dati sa media. 

  • LabuyoB

    Wala kasing pork barrel dyan na panuhol kaya walang qourum para sa FOI. Acid test itong FOI bill na ito sa kuno “daang matuwid.” Kung may FOI na kasi makikita na ang perang galing sa commissions, pork barrel, at extortion gamit ang politika. Malaking threat at kawalan ng politiko ang FOI.

  • Edgardo Mendoza


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