No right of reply in Palace version of FOI bill
MANILA - Malacañang remains non-committal on whether or not the freedom of information bill will be certified as urgent by President Aquino.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said the matter will have to be taken up in a coming meeting of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
"The FOI is among the priority measures recommended by the Cabinet clusters so it will be included in the agenda of the LEDAC. We will have to await the LEDAC meeting. That's the process for determining priority measures," he said.
Coloma said there is no right to reply provision in the administration bill submitted to the Senate. The right to reply provision has been pushed by some congressmen in previous congresses to ensure that their side will be heard and used in stories that maybe done based on information secured through a freedom of information act.
The FOI has been an advocacy of various media and government watchdogs as an anti-corruption tool.
While the Senate has acted with dispatch on the bill, the House of Representatives is off to a slow start in tackling the FOI.
The public information committee has to consolidate 13 FOI bills before it can start plenary debates. The panel however has yet to get organized--hounded by lack of members and a venue for its meetings.
Panel chair Rep. Jorge Almonte noted it will help the cause of the bill if it is certified as urgent by the President. Any bill certified as urgent can be passed on both 2nd and 3rd reading within the same day.