FOI bill’s fate lies in Aquino’s hands

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Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, CBCP-Nassa chairman (RL)

MANILA, Nov. 16, 2012— A Catholic bishop said that the passage of a crucial measure for transparency and accountability in the government lies on one man’s hands: President Benigno Aquino III.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said if Aquino really wants reform in the government, he would exert all efforts possible to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.

Otherwise, he said, the lack of political will on the part of the President to push the measure is mirrored in the lack credible commitment to root out irregularities in the government.

“One big help to fight graft corruption is transparency and that’s if the chief executive is really serious about it,” said Pabillo, chairman of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa).

However, the bishop lamented that Aquino has been cold on the FOI bill’s passage, which could provide substantive, procedural and institutional guarantee to the public’s constitutional right to information.

He reiterated that Aquino’s much-vaunted “straight path” campaign would remain a slogan if the government would not pass the FOI bill.

“It would mean that the slogan was only used for political expediency and not really to enforce reforms in the country,” said Pabillo.

The measure failed to pass the House committee on public information last Tuesday following a long debate on procedural matters.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, chair of the committee, also claimed there are still many contentious issues about the bill that needs to be addressed.

Malacañang said the administration has done its part in promoting the bill and its passage already lies in the hands of the Congress.

Pabillo called on lawmakers to give specific time frame in tackling the measure.

“They’ve been dilly-dallying for so long… they should give time for this if they are really serious,” he said. (RL/CBCPNews)




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