Francisco I. Chavez vs. Presidential Commission on Good Government et al

Petitioner, invoking his constitutional right to information, demands that respondents make public any and all negotiations and agreements pertaining to PCGG's task of recovering the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth. Respondents' opposite view is that the constitutional provisions refer to completed and operative official acts, not to those still being considered. The Court said that the recovery of the Marcoses' alleged ill-gotten wealth is a matter of public concern and imbued with public interest, and there is no question that petitioner has a right to respondents' disclosure of any agreement that may be arrived at concerning the Marcoses' purported ill-gotten wealth.

Petitioner, invoking his constitutional right to information, demands that respondents make public any and all negotiations and agreements pertaining to PCGG's task of recovering the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth. Respondents' opposite view is that the constitutional provisions refer to completed and operative official acts, not to those still being considered. The Court said that the recovery of the Marcoses' alleged ill-gotten wealth is a matter of public concern and imbued with public interest, and there is no question that petitioner has a right to respondents' disclosure of any agreement that may be arrived at concerning the Marcoses' purported ill-gotten wealth. The question that remains is whether the constitutional provision likewise guarantee access to information regarding ongoing negotiations or proposals prior to the final agreement. Reviewing the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, the Court held that it is incumbent upon the PCGG and its officers, as well as other government representatives, to disclose sufficient public information on any proposed settlement they have decided to take up with the ostensible owners and holders of ill-gotten wealth. Such information, though, must pertain to definite propositions of the government, not necessarily to intra-agency or inter-agency recommendations or communications during the stage when common assertions are still in the process of being formulated or are in the "exploratory" stage.

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