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FOI as whistle-blower’s tool

/ 12:03 AM October 28, 2014

Amid the controversies, left and right, regarding several public officials’ alleged unexplained wealth, we in Akbayan Partylist call on the House of Representatives to urgently pass the freedom of information (FOI) bill. We believe the bill is an important institutional tool to expose all ill-gotten wealth acquired by corrupt government officials and to enable its return to the nation’s coffers. The passage of the FOI bill will ensure that transparency and accountability will be deeply embedded in all government structures and will dissuade public officials, high and low, from illegally acquiring wealth by abusing their respective offices.

We call on the members of Congress to muster the needed political will and urgently pass this important measure. The FOI bill is the institutional whistle-blower that can ensure that truth and accountability will become normal behavioral components of governance—predictable and regular, rather than the exception.

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The FOI bill will also greatly contribute to removing many opportunities and temptations to abuse public office. And while it is not a “silver bullet” that will provide a miraculous fix to end a complex problem like corruption, it will nonetheless make it extremely difficult for would-be abusers to acquire ill-gotten wealth and engage in other corrupt practices.

—RISA HONTIVEROS,

chair, Akbayan Partylist,

36-B Madasalin St.,

Sikatuna Village, Quezon City

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