FOI for senate interpellation, won’t pass 2nd reading
Senate President Fanklin M. Drilon said on Sunday that they will prioritize the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill in the last three days session of Senate.
Drilon said before the upper chamber goes into recess for the observance of All Saints’ Day, it will hold plenary debates over the FOI bill and will continue its period of interpellations.
However, he admitted that it will not be possible to pass it on the second reading.
“Hindi po kakayanin. Hindi madali ang batas na ito. Period of interpellation pa lang. Hindi naman agad-agad dahil hindi natin alam kung ilang senador ang magtatanong at hindi natin kayang ipasa on second reading on Wednesday [It is not feasible. This law will take time to be approved as we are still in the period of interpellations. We don’t know how many senators will question the bill. We cant pass it on second reading by Wednesday], Drilon said in a radio interview.
He earlier said that the FOI bill will take a backseat on the senate’s legislative calendar as they will focus on the approval of the P2.268-trillion 2014 budget before the year ends. He explains that the senate should first pass the annual budget that would fuel government projects at the start of 2014, including the billions of public works projects and the Aquino Administrations’ flagship Conditional Cash Transfer Program.
While waiting for congress to submit the annual budget bill on Tuesday, the Senate will first priority public debates on the FOI bill, said Drilon.
“Iyan naman ay nasa legislative agenda, given our legislative calendar, bago matapos ang Marso next year maipapasa natin yan [The FOI Bill is included in our legislative calendar. The FOI bill will be passed by the Senate before the month of March next year]” Drilon said.
The FOI bill seeks to adopt and implement a policy of full public disclosure of all government transactions, involving public interest, with appropriate safeguards to protect national security and national interest.