Rep. Tanada: FOI bill to strengthen PNoy’s anti-corruption drive
President Benigno Aquino III may not have mentioned the Freedom of Information Bill in his third State of the Nation Address, but House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada III is confident the controversial legislation has the support of Malacañang.
“Of course, everyone wants the President to mention his pet bill,” Tañada said. “But I believe, the President knows that FOI will strengthen his advocacy of minimizing, if not eradicating corruption,” Tanada told GMA News Online in a phone interview.
Tañada, who co-authored the Freedom of Information Act of 2012, said that recommendations from Malacañang were already incorporated in the consolidated bill.
“After discussion with the study group, we incorporated certain provisions to ensure we’re recognizing the right of people to information on matters of public concern while considering issues of security,” he said.
The consolidated FOI bill, or “An Act To Strengthen The Right of Citizens to Information Held by the Government,” substituted House Bills 53, 11, 22, 59, 86, 133, 301, 830, 1713, 1968, 2128, and 2969.
If passed, the bill would mandate disclosure of information of any record controlled by government, including statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALNs) of national officials from the President to officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank.
“The FOI Bill will provide the general public a clear cut process on how people can get access to information,” Tañada said.
“It will also provide specific exceptions and penalties for those denying information,” he noted.
Tañada also noted the House committee on public information will put FOI to a vote on August 7.
“The fate of FOI bill will depend on the political will of the chair and the Speaker, but I believe we have at least an 80 to 85 percent chance,” he said.
The consolidated FOI bill was introduced by Representatives Tañada, Rodolfo Biazon, Marcelino Teodoro, Karlo Alexei Nograles, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Teddy Casiño, Neri Colmenares, Walden Bello, Kaka Bag-ao, Pedro Romualdo, Sergio Apostol, Rachel Marguerite del Mar, Winston “Winnie” Castelo, and Salvador Escudero III. — VS, GMA News
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