No room for FOI bill hearing at House, literally-A A +A
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
MANILA -- The House of Representatives literally lacks room for the scheduled hearing of the proposed freedom of information (FOI) bill, the chairman of the committee on public information said.
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone, committee chair, said Tuesday that the scheduled hearing on the controversial measure is deferred anew. The hearing is rescheduled to November 13.
"There is no room available. I asked the ComSec (Committee Secretariat), there is no available slot," Evardone said.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier instructed Evardone to schedule a hearing on the FOI bill on the second week of October when the House of Representatives is scheduled to pass on third reading the General Appropriations Bill.
Congress will be on a two-week break from October 20 to November 4 and will resume sessions on November 5 to December 21.
House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, FOI bill's main author, said he already expected Evardone's excuse, so he reserved a room for the committee hearing.
"I anticipated that reasoning and I reserved a room for a committee hearing that the committee on public information can use if they want to," Tañada told reporters. "It just takes a little effort to look for a room and maybe I did that effort."
Tañada, however, admitted that it would be difficult to enact an FOI law if both chambers of Congress fail to approve the proposals on third reading in December.
Last Congress, House members failed to ratify the FOI bill due to lack of quorum. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)