Quantcast
Latest Stories

House goes on recess without tackling FOI bill

By

PHOTO BY KAREN BONCOCAN

MANILA, Philippines—The Freedom of Information Bill remained hanging in its sponsorship stage until the last session day before the House of Representatives went on recess for the campaign period for the May elections.

Authors of the bill in the lower chamber of the 15th Congress pushed to keep the measure alive but said that passion without quorum and later on, Malacañang’s support, was just not enough.

“The advocates have been let down by the people we thought were our allies,” said Akbayan Partylist Representative Walden Bello, a co-author of the FOI Bill.

He said fighting for the bill’s survival became difficult without the President’s certification.

“We are passionate about FOI, but passion is not enough at this point,” said the lawmaker.

Delays punctuated deliberations on the FOI Bill from the committee level up to its introduction at the plenary.

Sponsorship speeches alone, took several session days, with authors trying to work out a way around the consistent lack of quorum and the minority bloc’s efforts to delay the measure’s passage.

But with the election fever high in Congress, more and more lawmakers failed to show up at session, adding to the authors’ frustration.

On Monday, even Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. admitted that there was little hope left for the bill.

Cibac Partylist Representative Sherwin Tugna in a recent interview said he found it frustrating that they could not defend their moves to tackle the bill since there would always be fear that quorum would be questioned.

But Bello said there would definitely be efforts to revive the FOI Bill in the 16th Congress.

Its principal author for the 15th Congress, Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, would no longer be in the House but Bello said he and the advocates would continue pushing for the measure.

“I am certainly committed to filing it in the 16th Congress if reelected. We will carry on with Cong Erin Tañada’s fight,” he said.

Advocates closed their campaign for the bill in this Congress with a heavy heart, saying they had “exhausted all avenues that we thought were open to us to get positive, decisive action from the leaders of the House of Representatives and from President Aquino no less.”

“Yet they turned a deaf ear to our summons for leadership. Instead they caved in to their fears of an informed and empowered people. They gave us the lie to their avowed claims of transparency and good governance,” the FOI Youth Initiative said in a statement.

The biggest disappointment they said was their belief that the bill had the President’s support since “three years ago he had promised he would accord the bill top priority.”

They lambasted the Malacañang spokespersons’ “curt” response to their appeals for the measure to be certified as urgent, telling them that he “wants to see a ‘healthy debate’ on the FOI bill in the House.”

“Our sad lesson: Words are to candidates cheap, and Presidents lie, indeed,” said the advocates.

“Today we do not bury the FOI Billl. Instead we keep it alive and recommit ourselves to push it in the 16th Congress—despite or in spite of Aquino and his allies,” they said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: 1th Congress , Feliciano Belmonte Jr. , FOI Bill , House of Representatives , Lorenzo Tanada , Walden Bello




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
Advertisement

News

  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement