More delays in consolidating FOI bills

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 06 2014 05:25 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2014 01:25 AM

MANILA - The first technical working group meeting on the Freedom of Information (FOI) bills in the House of Representatives ended with no consolidated version of the bill.

Two new FOI bills, filed by Representatives Sol Aragones and Cinchona Cruz Gonzales, were cited as the reason behind the delay in consolidation.

The two new bills were filed and referred after the committee on public information had already decided months ago to consolidate some 20 FOI bills already pending before the committee.

Rep. Fred Castro moved to create a new matrix that will include the new bills that were filed so these can be part of the deliberations.

The committee resolved to meet again February 12.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate slammed the decision, saying the House panel is just dragging its feet.

"One aspect na dapat titignan - hanggang kailan mag-e-entertain ng bagong version? More than 20 versions halos pare pareho lang andito. Sana magsimula na debate dito especially on contentious issues lalo na pagbubukas ng exceptions. Tingin namin pag-usapan ano ba exceptions. Kami tutol especially sa usapin ng executive privilege," Zarate said.

FOI deliberations in the Lower House have been slow compared to the Senate where a counterpart FOI Bill has been approved.