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Lowered House ENQUIRY Demaree J. B. Raval 06/06/2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lowered House

Demaree J. B. Raval
The failure of the House of Representatives to ratify — before it adjourned sine die last Friday — the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of the Freedom of Information (FoI) bills of the Senate and the House, respectively, is a betrayal of the public trust.

The Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition, of which Transparency International (Philippines) is a member, branded as doublespeak the claim of Speaker Prospero Nograles that he did his best to get the report on the FoI ratified. At the Kapihan sa Sulo yesterday, lawyer Nepomuceno Malaluan, coalition spokesman, said that even as Nograles publicly professed support for the ratification of the report, there were numerous acts by the House leadership that betray its determined resistance to secure the ratification.

The Senate had already ratified the report on the FoI in February of this year. Yet, Nograles found every reason not to have the same report ratified by the House of Representatives. On Feb. 2, 2010, copies of the report were distributed to the members of the House, but the members of the House mysteriously went missing at the session hall when it was calendared for ratification. Again, on Feb. 3, 2010, the House adopted or concurred with no less than 15 Senate bills, and ratified one conference committee report. However, the report on the FoI was conveniently left out. On May 24, 2010, Nograles implored the proponents of the bill to withdraw their motion to ratify the conference committee report, and committed to include it in the agenda of the House on May 31, 2010. May 31, 2010 came and went without any action on the report.

Then, on June 4, 2010, after succeeding in convincing Rep. Benny Abante, sponsor of the report, to deliver a manifestation on the prospective application of the FoI, obviously to shield some officials in the outgoing administration from any criminal action, Nograles, in a supreme act of betrayal, instead opened and closed the session, blitzkrieg style, and muzzled and gagged the proponents of the bill by turning off the microphones in the session hall, and invoking a quorum call which was unnecessary (or waived) in cases of ratification of conference committee reports.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100606com3.html


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