June 4 Last Day for Vote on Philippine FOIA Bill

2 June 2010

By Toby McIntosh

Advocates of a Freedom on Information Law for the Philippines are looking at June 4 as the last chance for getting it passed in this session of Congress.

Supporters had hoped for quick House approval May 31, but were stymied by House Speaker Prospero Nograles, who is delaying action on any legislative matters pending congressional certification of the presidential election results. He has now promised to put the FOIA bill on the calendar of business June 4, the last day for action in this Congress, according to media accounts.

The House convened briefly May 31, but members seeking a vote on the FOIA bill were thwarted. One report on the maneuvering by Lira Dalangin-Fernandez of INQUIRER.net describes frustrated legislators with dead microphones in their hands trying to make points of order.  One legislator accused Nograles of going back on his word, according to a story in the Manila Standard by Christine F. Herrere and Fel V. Maragay.

Although Nograles is a coauthor of the bill and said he still supports it, he is quoted in an account by Carmela Fonbuena of abs-cbnNEWS as warning that he can’t guarantee a quorum June 4. Quorum problems prevented a vote back in February.

Concerns about Nograles’ intention also appear in other stories, such as one by Christine O. Avendaño and Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. in which Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III, a bill supporter, says  Nograles may be “taking them for a ride” in committing to ratify the bill before adjournment.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under: What's New