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House members bare script to kill FoI bill By Charlie V. Manalo 06/06/2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010


House members bare script to kill FoI bill

By Charlie V. Manalo
Legislators narrated what went wrong after the House of Representatives failed to pass the Freedom of Information (FoI) on the last day of session of the 14th Congress, saying House members were really intent to kill the bill by arranging a face-saving script. 

Two lawmakers said those that conspired to block the passage of the bill wanted the enactment of the Right of Reply Bill (RoRB) that will force media to give way to rejoinders mainly from public officials who are the subjects of news stories as a parallel law to the FoI.

The non-passage of the controversial RoRB “forced conservative members of the lower chamber to block the ratification” of the FoI, according to two House members.

At the weekly Kapihan sa Sulo Forum, House committee on information chairman Manila Rep. Benny Abante and FoI main author, Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada, told reporters that immediately after Speaker Prospero Nograles declared an adjournment sine die for the 14th Congress, some members of the House immediately approached them telling them had they passed the RoRB which would give news subjects equal time and space in all publications and news programs, they would have acceded and ratify the FoI bill.

“Immediately after the Speaker declared adjournment sine die, many House members were whispering behind my back saying that if we had only passed the RORB, the FOI bill would have been ratified,” said Tañada.

Abante validated the Quezon lawmaker’s statement saying several House members also approached him telling him the same.

“So you see, everything was scripted. There was no intent on the part of the House, including the leadership to ratify the bill,” Abante averred.

Nograles, meanwhile, denied that the junking of the bill was premeditated and “scripted” and pointed out that he himself was frustrated over the failure of the House to ratify the measure along with the other pending bills which only needed final approval in last day of the 14th Congress.

“ What scripted are they talking about?Hello? It was in open public transparent session in plenary. That’s’ a very unfair accusation.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100606hed1.html


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