The FOI bills that got killed
Save for the executive order issued immediately after PDu30 was sworn as president, we don’t have any freedom of information (FOI) law that binds the other branches of government—the legislative and the judiciary. Understandably, our lawmakers, the congressmen and senators would be subject to that law and information would be a little bit easier to obtain information regarding their projects or how they conducted their other official business, including whatever corruption they had committed.
So they dilly dallied on the FOI bills filed last time and even in the congress before that during the PNoy administration. If there is anything that should cause us to hate that administration it was the failure to pass an FOI law which was even a campaign promise of PNoy.
The good news is that on the first day of this present congress, a congressman from Cebu filed an FOI bill. Senator Grace Poe also filed one in the Senate. So far so good. But will these finally become law considering that so many corrupt acts are being committed by our legislators?
If the legislators think that they can get away with not acting on the bills so these won’t see the light of day as a law, they will do so. That is, they will not act on the bills in a speedy manner such that by the next election we will still not have an FOI law except for the aforesaid executive order which the next president can overrule by issuing another one making it ineffective.
The ball is in our hands. If we, the people, express our voices loud and clear for the passage of such a law our legislators will have no choice but to do so.
But if meek and stupid we remain, then we will never see one.
How will we be not stupid? We will not be stupid if we monitor those who did not support the passage of the bills into law and then campaign against them come the next elections. In this age of the internet, even people in Tawi-tawi or in the Babuyan islands can campaign against the election of an aspiring congressman in Kalinga or in Mountain Province.
Why should be bother? An FOI law along with one that protects and gives incentives to whistle blowers would be a big step against corrupt practices in government.**