No signs PNoy would budge on FOI bill
MANILA, Philippines -- It seems the freedom of information (FOI) bill is dead.
In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said “it seems he has not advised us on any change” when asked if President Benigno Aquino III would still try to save and certify as urgent the bill.
Malacanang earlier said Aquino would rather see a healthy debate before it is passed in Congress.
Some stakeholders also see a slim chance of the bill being passed, saying even an “urgent” certification will not bolster its case.
Lawmakers will go on a four-month recess this week for the election campaign. They will again reconvene on June 3, but will then adjourn four days after.
Still, Senator Edgardo Angara offered a solution. He said Aquino can come up with an executive order on better access to information.
Valte, however, downplayed the suggestion, saying the government has already implemented transparency measures, such as the online disclosure of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
Would she admit then that the FOI bill is already a “gonner”?
Valte only said: “It’s still entirely up to Congress.”
Despite pronouncements from government officials that the bill is not a priority, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bragged before the international community that it is a solution to solving corruption in the country.
De Lima claimed before foreign leaders at the 5th Global Organization of Parliaments Against Corruption that a law to that effect is necessary in Aquino’s anti-corruption program.