PNoy pushing for FOI law, Lacierda says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2015 12:44 AM | Updated as of Jul 29 2015 09:35 AM

MANILA - No less than President Benigno is pushing for a Freedom of Information (FOI) law, a Palace official said Tuesday.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in an interview on ANC Beyond Politics, said Aquino made a commitment on FOI legislation in 2014.

"Again, to set it straight, there's no question on President Aquino's commitment to transparency and accountability," Lacierda said. "Last year in Daylight Dialogue where the World Bank president was here in an open forum, Mr. Ramon del Rosario Jr. asked the President directly, 'Do we foresee the FOI being passed under your term?' And the President said, he said 'It will be passed before the end of my term.' Very categorical. No ifs, no buts."

Aquino has drawn flak for failing to mention the pending FOI bill in his final SONA Monday.

For Lacierda, however, the President shouldn't be criticized about the issue.

"Nakalimutan lang ng tao siguro na nasabi na ni Pangulong Aquino: I see that FOI being passed before the end of my term," he said.

He added that the FOI bill is in the 2016 budget message sent to Congress.

"(It) is as powerful as an instruction to the House, message to the members of Congress. In fact, the wording, if I'm not mistaken, is to institutionalize this transparency policies. We urge Congress to pass the Freedom of Information Bill," Lacierda said.

"Speaker Belmonte is also just as committed. He already said publicly that we will pass the FOI so it just needs a little nudge to the Majority Floor Leader (Neptali Gonzales II) to calendar the FOI," he added.

The Senate has already approved its version of the FOI bill, but the lower House version has been delayed.