Another technicality to delay House version of FOI bill

The Freedom of Information (FOI) bill at the House of Representatives is seen to face further delay after the chairperson of the committee which approved the measure insisted on calling for another hearing to approve the panel’s report on the proposed legislation.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, who heads the House committee on public information, said he needs to convene his panel once again on December 11 to formally give its nod on the committee report endorsing the FOI bill for plenary debates.

Evardone cited Section 39 of the House Rules to justify his decision to call for another hearing on the FOI bill. This provision states that “committee reports… shall be considered in formal meetings and approved by a majority of members present, there being a quorum.”

“That is the rule. We can’t ignore the rules. We have rules to follow,” Evardone said in a phone interview.

But Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, FOI bill author, described the additional hearing being called by Evardone next week as “superfluous.”

“This is just a technicality being highlighted as an essential point. As I understand it, once the committee approves the substitute bill, the committee members just need to sign the committee report,” Bello said in a separate phone interview.

Last week, a majority of members of the House public information committee approved the FOI bill, which seeks to provide more transparency in government data and transactions.

‘Disturbing’

Bello further described Evardone’s move as “disturbing” and expressed fear that the additional hearing may hinder the passage of the bill during the 15th Congress.

“I think it [the additional hearing] will result in another procedural delay that will prevent consideration of the bill in plenary before adjournment of sessions for Christmas. I am very disappointed in the chairperson, but I am not at all surprised,” the party-list lawmaker said.

He added that Evardone should just circulate the committee report on the FOI bill to the panel’s members for their signatures, which he said is the “common practice” for other measures at the House.

Evardone, however, insisted on calling for an additional hearing, saying he wants the FOI bill to reach the plenary without procedural problems.

“Kung pagpapaikot lang nung bill for signatures, walang problema sa akin iyan. Madali lang naman iyon. Ayoko lang makwestyon pagdating sa plenary that I didn’t call for a formal meeting to approve the committee report,” he said.

Evardone failed to call for a hearing on the FOI bill last year, causing the measure to be stalled at the committee level for more than a year. He has also repeatedly pledged to hold a committee hearing on the measure earlier this year but was not able to make good on his words due to various reasons such as the prioritization of other bills to the lack of a room to use for the hearing.

— RSJ, GMA News

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia
    Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia

    Eight foreign drug convicts are set to be executed in Indonesia after losing all appeals for clemency. Here are brief profiles of the inmates, who include two from Australia, one each from Brazil and the Philippines, and four from Africa. Myuran Sukumaran A ringleader of the Bali Nine drugs smuggling syndicate, Sukumaran was born in London in 1981 and moved with his Sri Lankan family to Australia when he was a child. Enticed by the prospect of easy money, in 2005 he helped to organise a …

  • Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather
    Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather

    Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is confident he can beat American arch-rival Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on Saturday with the power of God, after abandoning a life he said was packed with sin condemning him to hell. Pacquiao is in top form both in mind and spirit after he traded his boozing, gambling and womanising ways for a devout life of prayer, his spiritual adviser, Jeric Soriano, told AFP in a recent Manila interview. Except the world got to him," Soriano said of Pacquiao's …

  • Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict
    Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict

    JAKARTA (Reuters) - The execution of a Filipina drug convict by an Indonesian firing squad will not be delayed despite last-minute appeals by the Philippine government, the attorney general said on Tuesday. Indonesian President Joko Widodo earlier met with a migrant workers' group to discuss the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who is one of nine people set to be executed within hours. (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco in MANLIA and Gayatri Suroyo in JAKARTA; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) …

  • Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone
    Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone

    By Kanupriya Kapoor CILACAP, Indonesia (Reuters) - Nine drug traffickers held emotional farewell meetings with their families at an Indonesian prison on Tuesday, after Jakarta rejected last-ditch pleas from around the world for clemency and ordered their mass execution to proceed within hours. "I won't see him again," said Raji Sukumaran, the mother of an Australian who will go before a firing squad along with a fellow countryman and convicts from Nigeria, Brazil, the Philippines and …

  • Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive
    Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he made one last appeal to the Indonesian government to spare a Filipina among nine prisoners set to be executed for drug trafficking on Tuesday as she could be a vital witness in prosecuting drug syndicates. It was Aquino's third personal appeal, after the Indonesian attorney general rejected the Philippines' request on Monday for a second judicial review of the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who her lawyers say merely served as an unknowing mule to drug …

  • Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000
    Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000

    Are you hunting for an affordable motorcycle which you can use for personal use or a family service vehicle? Carmudi PH presents to you some of the cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines today. These budget friendly motorbikes will surely not hurt your pockets, and you may even buy them on the spot instead of monthly […] The post Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000 appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • Indonesia gears up for executions as families wail in grief
    Indonesia gears up for executions as families wail in grief

    Indonesia made final preparations Tuesday to execute eight foreigners by firing squad, as family members wailed in grief during last visits to their loved ones and ambulances carrying white coffins arrived at the drug convicts' prison. Relatives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the Australian ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" heroin trafficking group, arrived at Nusakambangan prison calling for mercy for their loved ones, with Sukumaran's sister collapsing in grief. They are among …

  • Labor Day heat index may heat feverish levels

    Temperatures could soar on Labor Day this Friday, with the "init factor" reaching the 40°C level in some areas of the country. Labor Day is a holiday in the Philippines, though many Filipinos are expected to go out to the streets to call for better working conditions. The so-called "init factor" or "heat index" gives the apparent temperature, taking into account the actual air temperature as well as other factors such as humidity. State weather agency PAGASA's Tuesday heat index indicated …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options