Miriam to netizens: Pressure Congress to pass FOI

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2014 03:03 PM | Updated as of Mar 13 2014 04:47 AM

MANILA - Senator Miriam Santiago is disappointed that Malacañang is not certifying the freedom of information (FOI) bill as urgent.

Santiago is relying on netizens to exert pressure on the House of Representatives to pass the bill.

“I hope that the netizens can exert sufficient, educated public pressure on all these entities to shake a leg and pass the FOI bill because it has been passed in several other countries,” Santiago told reporters.

A Palace spokesman earlier said President Benigno Aquino III won’t use his persuasion powers over allies at the House of Representatives to pass the FOI bill – the same powers he used in pushing for measures on reproductive health, sin tax, and the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Malacanang honors the separation of powers between the executive and legislative.

He insisted Aquino did not coerce his allies into doing his bidding during previous instances. “Noong nakaraang talakayan hinggil sa Reproductive Health Bill, hindi naman siya gumamit ng pamimilit o pamumuwersa, at kahit mga kaalyado ng administrasyon ay hinayaang bumoto ayon sa kanilang konsensya at ayon sa panawagan ng kanilang mga constituent. Kaya ganyan din ang pananaw ng ating Pangulo hinggil dito.”

It is best if the public imposes pressure on lawmakers to pass the FOI bill, he said.

He believes the Senate’s version of the FOI Bill, passed on Monday, already considered the administration’s inputs.