FOI bill author puts pressure on House Speaker-A A +A
Monday, October 14, 2013
MANILA -- One of the authors of the freedom of information (FOI) bill on Monday challenged House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to set a timetable on the passage of the pro-transparency measure.
Diwa party-list Representative Emmeline Aglipay made the challenge after Belmonte himself committed to the approval of the FOI bill under his term in the present 16th Congress.
“I hope the Speaker would give a timetable for the FOI bill because even if the measure reaches the plenary, it might still be stalled
there. At least if there is a timetable, we are assured that there would be ample time for discussion and that we will eventually vote on it and pass it into law,” Aglipay said.
Aglipay and other members of the House committee on public information earlier said that panel chairman and Misamis Occidental Representative Jorge Almonte committed to hold a hearing on the FOI bill next week, October 22.
Belmonte however said that he was not informed of the schedule set by Almonte.
Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan (Gabriela party-list) and Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol party-list) however warned of rushing the approval of the FOI bill.
"This new FOI bill may contain provisions that are contradictory to the intent of a genuine FOI bill. If we rush it to the plenary only to discover the inclusion of detrimental provisions, then we defeat the purpose of a genuine FOI law,” Ilagan said.
“I think it should be deliberated first in the committee to thresh and iron out certain contentious provisions. Referring a very
controversial bill like the FOI bill immediately to the plenary by the committee on public information will raise more issues than answers. This will also further delay its approval," Batocabe said.
Malacanang earlier said that it will include the FOI bill in its proposed priority legislation before the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac).
In the 15th Congress, the FOI bill was approved in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, however, their version of the FOI bill languished in the committee level for two years before it was sent to the plenary a little too late as Congress was about to go on a break for the May 2013 midterm elections. (Sunnex)