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The Daily Tribune

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Day of shame EDITORIAL 06/06/2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day of shame

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The defeat of the Freedom of Information (FoI) bill by default as a result of an intentional lack of quorum not only showed the reluctance or even fear among those in government to allow wide access to public documents but was also an indication of the still potent hand of Gloria Arroyo in the House of Representatives.

The force of number again held sway in that day of shame at the House. There was no way that Congress lacked quorum the other day when the FoI was tackled and Speaker Prospero Nograles was even about to bang the gavel for its approval when a congressman called his attention on the lack of quorum.

The absent bodies, however, were just lingering outside the plenary hall. Party-list Rep. Joel Villanueva even requested that the congressmen be compelled to be brought to the assembly even through arrest. A meeting then ensued and the bill was dead.

To be fair, however, with Villanueva’s motion for the arrest to be made for the absent congressmen, even if it was a good sound bite, was not as easy as all that, mainly because there are existing rules.

If an arrest call was made, it couldn’t have been enforced on that day, which was the last day for Congress to adjourn sine die.
The bill, however, which has been agonizing in the Congress pipeline for over a decade had only one fate as long as Gloria can exert influence in the House. And that is certain death.

For one, lack of quorum has been the usual course in the House when controversial measures that mainly address irregularities are tackled. Absence is the most cowardly way of voting in Congress since it saves face for the legislator and at the same time kills a popular measure.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100606com1.html


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