By Gerry Albert Corpuz
MANILA, Philippines-The vigilant Manila based media group–National Union of Journalists in the Philippines scored top leaders of the House of Representatives for failing to pass the Freedom of Information Bill.
In a press statement, a copy of which was obtained by http://www.allvoices.com, the NUJP said the Filipino people should remember well the leadership of the House of Representatives of the 14th Congress who betrayed their mandate and democracy by killing the Freedom of Information bill.
“The travesty in the House session hall on June 4, 2010 was clear proof that outgoing Speaker Prospero Nograles had never had any intention of ensuring the ratification of the measure that would give reality to the constitutionally guaranteed right of the people to information of public interest,” the media group stressed.
The NUJP added: “The only conclusion one can draw about the badly scripted drama that Nograles and his accomplices – Majority Leader Arthud Defensor and Camiguin Representative Pedro Romualdo – acted out is that, even in his last moments as Speaker, the political expediency that characterized the outgoing administration continued to trump our long suffering people’s hopes for good governance and an end to corruption.”
For his part, Bayan Muna party list Rep. Teodoro Casino also assailed lawmakers allied with outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, adding that the killing of what is supposed to be a landmark act of legislation was orchestrated by Arroyo and her officials in and out of Congress who are currently facing charges of high crimes of corruption and other big offenses against the 94 million Filipinos.
In an interview with dzMM radio station, the activist lawmaker who is a staunch supporter of the bill, said there were not truth to reports that there was no quorum, accusing pro-administration solons of intentionally boycotting the session that
is scheduled to debate and approve the right to information measure.
“There was a quorum. There were about 140 congressmen yesterday. But many of them went on self-hiatus inside their airconditioned rooms at the expense of truth, justice and national interest,” Bayan Muna’s Casino said.
Casino, a media practitioner and alternative journalist himself during his heyday as President of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) said the fight for Freedom of Information Bill is not yet over.
The militant lawmaker said the FOI bill can still be refiled in the 15th session of the Congress on July 26 this year.