Congress 'scared' of transparency, accountability-A A +A
Thursday, January 10, 2013
"IS CONGRESS afraid of transparency and accountability?" asked Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr., one of the authors of the freedom of information (FOI) bill pending in the House of Representatives, more than a week before Congress resumes session.
“If the FOI will not pass, then it will seem that Congress is afraid of transparency and accountability, which are the hallmarks of the Aquino administration,” added Baguilat, who is a Liberal Party stalwart.
Before Congress adjourned session last month, the Senate already approved its version of the FOI bill.
In the House of Representatives, however, the FOI bill is yet to be sponsored by House committee on public information chairman Ben Evardone in the plenary.
Baguilat said the passing of the landmark FOI bill is a fitting way to conclude the groundbreaking work of the present 15th Congress.
“The 15th Congress is turning out to be a landmark Congress with the passage of laws on land use, sin tax, and reproductive health. The passage of the FOI bill will cap that reputation,” said Baguilat.
Congress is set to reopen on January 21 before going to a break in February, in time for the campaign period for the midterm elections in May.
Proponents of the FOI bill, including Baguilat, fear that legislators will be more concerned about preparing for the elections and may not deem it necessary to attend the remaining nine session days.
For his part, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Representative Sherwin Tugna urged Filipinos to pressure their representatives in attending plenary sessions.
“A lot of our lawmakers are in social media now and can be reached by a simple click. We should take advantage of this reality and tell our representatives to attend the remaining session days in Congress. I believe that with enough prodding, the people can reach critical mass and compel the members of Congress to finish this business with the FOI bill,” Tugna, also an author of the FOI bill, said in a press statement. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)