FOI bill divides House opposition bloc-A A +A
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
OPPOSITION lawmakers in the House of Representatives are divided over the proposed freedom of information (FOI) law designed to allow access to key public documents.
In a press conference Wednesday, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said that the opposition lawmakers will not vote on the FOI as a bloc and that it will be a "conscience call."
For his part, Suarez said that he will be in favor of the FOI bill if a right-of-reply (ROR) provision is inserted in the bill.
"Do we have a responsible and mature media? We should be given ample elbow room to protect (ourselves)," Suarez said. "The ROR will be a big help."
The ROR provision, which would legally require media to allot equal amount of space or airtime for the reply of persons who would become subjects of journalistic reporting, was rejected by the House committee on public information.
With the FOI bill in the plenary, lawmakers in favor of the ROR clause still have the opportunity to insert it in the period of amendments.
Since session resumed Monday, however, the FOI bill is yet to be tackled in the plenary.
Zambales Representatives Mitos Magsaysay, meanwhile, thinks that the committee-approved FOI bill is a "watered down" version.
The two opposition lawmakers refused to disclose who among the minority bloc are in favor or against the FOI bill.
Earlier, seven congressmen belonging to the progressive party-list bloc withdrew their support for the FOI bill because of the supposed Malacañang-sponsored provisions. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)