Buzz: Why PNoy doesn’t want FOI during his term

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


IT HAS become increasingly clear why President Aquino doesn’t want the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill passed now: He doesn’t want it enforced during his term. Not while he is in office.

He promised it would be approved. Congress leaders, notably House Speaker Jose Belmonte, said FOI would pass. Before their term ends, not now. Why? PNoy didn’t say when he repeated his plan at a World Bank forum last Tuesday. The only logical explanation, which nobody has pointed out, is that they don’t want their administration hobbled by FOI during their watch.

“After us, OK na,” seems to be the thinking. They admit that FOI is a mechanism ideal for “matuwid na daan” but not for them. They want to do reforms with no FOI to expose their errors or mistakes. Let the next administration cope with FOI.

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Another meaning that one can read into it, a Cebuano journalist based in Manila told a Bzzzzz source: they believe they’re honest and virtuous and don’t need the watchdog’s weapon that is the FOI. FOI would be needed to keep future leaders straight, not the present leaders.

It has taken him four years now to stall (“dribble, dribble”) the FOI’s passage; he needs two years more. He’d shoot in the last few months, when the FOI wouldn’t apply to his rule anymore.

Scared, threatened by information law

WHAT has “scared” PNoy and his advisers about FOI when during the campaign and shortly after he assumed office last June 30, 2010 he had been praising it and promising its passage as a linchpin in his anti-corruption campaign?

Those who whisper in his ears must have convinced the president that it would be a distraction, as PNoy’s enemies, not just the media, would use it to uncover ammunition against the administration. “The critics are vociferous now without FOI. How much more with FOI in place?”

They include media among “the usual suspects” because, a PNoy ally once said, “you have ‘medya-medya’ in your ranks who’d use FOI to blackmail and extort.”

But PNoy himself keeps his cards close to his chest, not telling why FOI would only be good for those who’d take his place.

Like JVR balloons, Talisay ‘drifting’

DID YOU NOTICE...

... TALISAY CITY MAYOR “JVR” DE LOS REYES disclosed during his state-of-the-city address (Soca) Tuesday that an investor would set up a marina at the long-unused fish port of the city.

A City Hall watcher says they may no longer need to paint the fish port building white (for “white elephant”) or red (for “in the red”).

Former congressman Eddie Gullas, in a published March 19 letter, said the Talisay administration was “drifting,” “with no clear direction.” Like the balloons JVR sent aloft during his Soca: left to the wind, with no hand to guide them?

[bzzzz@sunstar.com.ph or paseares@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2014.

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