Pressuring the Lower House-A A +A
By Nef Luczon
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
THE Senate has finally passed the Freedom of Information (FOI) for the third and final reading, almost 21 years after it has been pending in Congress due to its potent power for government transparency and corruption exposes.
We'd like to believe that the Congress is made up of deserving and noble legislators, but there are always those bad eggs and their agenda-setting 'sponsors' from the outside that have dark powers to let it stall for more than two decades.
Because once FOI, in its truest and untainted sense and purpose, becomes a law, issues on corruption will be curbed and people will always have the right to demand their government what did it do to the people's money, obliging government agencies and officials to perform its duty and channel the funds without "kickbacks" and "commissions" directly sent to their pockets.
If FOI was passed 21 years ago, we won't have experienced pork barrel scams, NBN-ZTE anomalous deals and the like if it was implemented right. But even if it's already passed in the Senate, we still have to wait the FOI version that comes from the House of Representatives.
As of this writing, the House version of FOI is still under the Technical Working Group, according to reports and it may have take a little longer to deliberate and have a consolidated version in May after session will resume after the Holy Week in April.
Representatives in the Lower House only have two options: either they will pass their FOI version the soonest as possible, or find lame excuses to delay it until next year.
And once FOI versions in the Senate and Lower House will be passed and consolidated, then our attention will now focus on President Benigno S. Aquino III, will he sign it or veto it? Until then, we need not take our eyes off from him and to the legislators.
It is interesting and amusing at the same time looking at how the majority bloc of Cagayan de Oro City Council automatically cry foul over the Moreno administration's potential "anomalies" from budget issues and now add the satellite office in Makati City.
Interesting, because finally the City Council has become autonomous and it can speak for its own. This means that Mayor Oscar Moreno is bound to do his duty as honest as possible otherwise it may have a negative interpretation if his actions and decisions are not justified.
Meanwhile, it is amusing, because of the fact that they are only doing it now, and perhaps they are very much familiar the possibilities of potential "anomalies," and because they are now seeing themselves in the mirror during the time of their previous master.
Moreno may not be the ideal mayor or perfect public servant Cagayan de Oro may ever have, but simply put, the majority of the new-opposition bloc of the City Council unwittingly and subconsciously scrutinizes potentially "anomalous" moves by Moreno administration, because they themselves know the potential "anomalies" would be like. It's basic psychology.
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 12, 2014.