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By Rina Jimenez-David
It might strike many, particularly supporters of the freedom of information bill, as mere “consuelo de bobo” (cold comfort) to say that the fate of this piece of legislation is but par for the course of many other bills making their way to enactment into law.
I doubt very much if some of the people, lawmakers and clergymen among them, who are urging President Aquino to certify the urgency of the freedom of information bill really know the meaning of an “urgent bill.”
The sin tax bill, the reproductive health bill, the “enforced disappearances” bill—as far as substantive, high-impact legislation goes, 2012 will go down as a banner year for Congress and the administration of President Aquino. It’s quite an annus mirabilis, too, for a country long starved for laws and regulations that have the potential to truly change the game. Too many Congresses have come and gone with not one meaningful piece of work to remember them by. But now, practically in one blow, the Philippines has been presented with three new laws that advance the cause of progressive politics and, not incidentally, kindle the hope that this time, the country may indeed be on its way to a more modern, enlightened era of governance and civic order.
By Amando Doronila
Now, it’s the turn of the freedom of information bill to languish in the doldrums after the passage of the reproductive health bill in Congress. President Aquino pledged to back the bill during the 2010 elections, but the political will to push the bill through Congress has lagged far behind the promise, as the [...]
This refers to the letter accusing me and Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. (SB) of trying to “kill” the Freedom of Information or FOI bill (Inquirer, 12/3/12). In fairness to Speaker Belmonte, his instructions is to facilitate the smooth passage of the bill taking into considerations all the contentious issues. I and Speaker Belmonte remain [...]
THE ADMINISTRATION coalition surprised itself this week with suddenly decisive action on two contentious bills pending in Congress: a plenary vote approving the amendment by substitution of the controversial Reproductive Health bill, and a committee vote endorsing the equally controversial Freedom of Information bill to the plenary. Considering the state of inaction that had claimed [...]
By Juan L. Mercado
“If President Benigno Aquino believed in transparency, he’d not have pushed for that ridiculous Right of Reply (RoR)” rider smuggled into the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, Political Jaywalkers blogged.
By Conrado de Quiros
I almost fell out of my chair when I read it. I read it again to make sure I had not made a mistake from reading a little too fast. That was P-Noy saying, “The same spirit hews closely to our position on the issue of right of reply. As the Bible says, the truth shall set you free. If two sides of a story are reported, if the details of every piece of news are accurate and the freedom of all Filipinos to form their own opinion is valued, then a journalist has nothing to worry about.”
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
Had not the debate on the Freedom of Information bill been aborted last Tuesday, it might have taken up the issue of “right of reply.” Actually, this is not the first time that the right of reply has reached Congress. In 2009 a bill on the subject sought preferential treatment. Essentially the bill said that “all persons who are accused directly or indirectly of any crime or offense or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the right to reply to the charges published in newspapers and other publications or to criticisms aired over radio, television, website or through any electrical device.” It did not become law and no case went to court.
By Juan L. Mercado
“The worst sin is to be indifferent,” George Bernard Shaw wrote. Does this apply to President Aquino’s flip-flops on the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill?
On the proposal to enact the constitutional promise of freedom of information, the calculated incompetence of the House committee on public information has led to the outcome it wanted all along: deliberate inaction. The committee’s failure on Tuesday to even put the Freedom of Information bill to a vote, after an agonizing procedural detour, means there is very little chance that it will become law under the 15th Congress.
By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Last Monday, in a last-ditch effort, groups marched to and rallied in Mendiola in the vain hope that the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill would become a reality after years of languishing in the desert despite the valiant efforts of its advocates. And for it to get past (to borrow the title of a Lemony Snicket blockbuster) the “series of unfortunate events” that bedeviled it, no thanks to the closet and openly harmful antis.