Changes to FOI bill necessary - Valte

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2013 03:50 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2013 03:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang stood by its version of the freedom of information (FOI) bill amid reports that lawmakers have threatened to pull out their support because of provisions that it proposed.

Deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte stressed that executive privilege and matters relating to national security are really exempted from public disclosure in a number of jurisdictions.

She said the Palace’s version proposes the crafting of an executive order that will provide for a period for declassification for matters of national security.

Valte took exception to allegations that the Palace version limits the public's access to information, citing its proposal to have the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) of public officials uploaded on the Internet.

"Hindi rin po namin maintindihan kung ano po ang kanilang ibig sabihin noong sinabi nilang ang version daw po ng Malacañang nililimitahan ang kalayaan para doon sa impormasyon na hinahanap ng ating publiko," Valte said.

Asked if the FOI would be an issue in the coming elections, Valte said, "We will leave it up to the voters."