On March 12, as the House of Representative’s Committee on Public Information resumes hearings on the Freedom of Information bill, the Action for Economic Reforms joined our colleagues in the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition in expressing optimism for a significant advance of the FOI bill in Congress. Still, we also called for vigilance against any […]
Press Statement from Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III. The Right to Know, Right Now coalition, a network of 150 Civil Society groups pushing for the passage of an FOI law, issued a statement today. The coalition said it welcomed the submission, by this administration, of its proposed substitute […]
The Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition welcomes the recent public endorsement by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III of the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) law and the release of the executive’s final proposed bill.
The President’s endorsement achieves two things: it removes the main reason why the bill has been stalled in the legislative wringer, particularly at the House of Representatives, and 2. it resolves the “concerns” about the bill that the President has expressed, thereby reducing the danger of a Presidential veto.
Today, we reaffirm our commitment to fight for our freedom of information. Together, we will work to expand our ranks, raise public awareness, build consensus, actively engage Malacañang and Congress, and intensify our campaign to have the Freedom of Information Act passed within the second regular session of the 15th Congress.
It is plain and simple: the people’s right to know is a constitutionally guaranteed right. It is not a matter subject to negotiation with public officials or lawmakers, or to the discretion of whichever party is in power.
Three times we have written and three times, too, we have failed to receive substantial positive feedback from you or your deputies regarding our appeal.
Please rest assured, Mr, President, that we continue to keep faith in your appreciation of the value of an FOI Act in promoting good governance, transparency, accountability, and responsive delivery of public services. These are precisely the bedrock principles – and promises – on which you have built your “Social Contract with the Filipino People,” and for which you have won the adulation, respect and vote of our people. We also understand full well that your administration needs and deserves adequate time to study the details of the bill and assess it against a number of concerns that you and some of your deputies have publicly raised.
After a tenacious and defiant stand against the House impeachment proceedings, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez surprised many when she took the path of least resistance and resigned her post.
One view about her decision is that by doing so, she pre-empted not just her own public trial, but also that of former President Gloria Arroyo. After all, the acts for which Ombudsman Gutierrez was impeached by Congress are intimately connected with acts relating to the former presidency. The betrayal of public trust was a conspiracy; the conspirators must have assessed it to be too damaging for them to go to a public trial, even if no punishment is involved in impeachment.