Belmonte: FOI bill will be passed before 2016
Don’t dictate on me.
Such was the response of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, who seemed piqued over questions about whether the freedom of information (FOI) bill would be passed.
“Don’t dictate on me [because] I manage to get things done if you take a look at my record,” he told reporters during a gathering in Quezon City on Thursday night.
“What I can commit is in my term, you will have an FOI [law],” said Belmonte, whose second three-year term under the Aquino administration will end in 2016.
But Belmonte was vague on whether the version he had in mind would include a “right of reply” (ROR) provision, a contentious issue that was blamed partly for the FOI bill’s failure to advance in the previous Congress.
“You see I don’t even know [about the ROR provision],” he claimed.
The Senate is close to completing its version of the FOI, while the House public information committee is yet to hold its first public hearing.
Misamis Occidental Rep. Jorge Almonte, committee chair, earlier said the initial hearing was hampered by the purported lack of a meeting room at the Batasan complex.
Told about this, Belmonte said: “They can use my room.” Christian V. Esguerra
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