FOI bill: Suarez vows to raise right of reply clause in plenary
MANILA, Philippines — The Freedom of Information Bill may have gotten past the committee level hearings without the provision on right of reply but House minority leader Danilo Suarez said that they would strongly raise the issue once the measure reaches the plenary.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the legislator said that “unless the ROR is clearly established, the minority will strongly raise issues on the FOI bill.”
Despite delaying tactics employed by opponents of the consolidated version of 15 FOI bills, the legislation was approved during the House public information committee’s hearing on Tuesday by 17 lawmakers. Only three voted against it while one abstained.
Suarez said that the ROR provision was necessary especially for public officials whose reputation can be easily tarnished by media. “We should be given the right of air time and coverage.”
The FOI bill, if enacted, could be abused if there were no safeguards in place, he insisted.
But the minority leader said that there was little time to hold discussions on the FOI bill with only nine sessions left after Wednesday.
“With important bills lined up like the RH bill and (the amendments) to the AMLA, we might run out of material time to tackle this. The only hope is when we reopen by January next year to early February,” said Suarez.
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