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Advocates shout protests after House fails to tackle FOI Bill

/ 05:32 PM January 21, 2013

House of Representatives. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — A group of advocates for the Freedom of Information Bill shouted protests at the lobby of the House of Representatives as the measure failed to be tackled as session resumed Monday.

Lawyer Napomuceno Malaluan, co-convenor of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, said they walked out of the session hall after hearing that the FOI Bill was not part of the day’s agenda.

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Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has earlier told the media that the FOI Bill was not part of this session day’s business.

The measure will however be tackled on Tuesday.

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But Malaluan said that Belmonte has failed them because he could not have the House tackle the FOI measure upon the resumption of session.

Although optimistic, Akbayan Partylist Representative Walden Bello, a co-author of the FOI Bill in the House, has earlier said that this just meant that “the House leadership might be cool towards the bill.”

“Well, it is only a day lost. We still have eight session days to go,” said Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III, main proponent of the House version of the bill.

He said he heard that the reason for the FOI Bill’s non-inclusion in Monday’s agenda was that “the Committee on Public Information did not submit the Committee Report on time because the Chairman was out of the country and did not want to delegate the submission of the Report to his Vice Chairmen.”

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