Dynasty, FOI bills: Not PNoy’s priority

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014


TWO bills that Congress has been sitting on for ages is the anti-political dynasty bill and the freedom of information (FOI) bill.

Now that both houses of Congress seem to be actively working on them, it's President Aquino who has been unenthusiastic. PNoy says they're not in his priority list. He won't certify them as urgent although he insists he's not against the bills.

The president knows better what his government pressingly needs. That has been his refuge in reneging on a campaign promise and helping Congress disregard what the Constitution requires.

And hierarchy of priorities is used to repel constitutional imperative and accountability.

We don't need the dynasty and FOI bills as urgently as we need, say, a bill to plug loopholes on state funding of NGOs or PNoy's police pension bill.

But the Constitution orders passage of the dynasty bill. And access to public information is required for transparency and accountability, as the president has repeated acknowledged.

If bills are passed according to immediacy of needs, the dynasty and FOI bills will never get passed, not when thy don't fit the president's idea of what are urgent, especially when effects are long-term and could be put off without the nation collapsing.

Public wrath

The recent humongous scandal over pork barrel made many legislators penitent and, in an effort to appease, rushed to work on the dynasty and FOI bills.

But PNoy has remained indifferent. He might be thinking he's impervious to public wrath and his poll ratings could weather any turmoil until the end of his term.

(paseares@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 30, 2014.

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