Nograles assures FOI bill will be tackled on Friday

June 3, 2010 8:31 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, June 3 — Speaker Prospero Nograles assured that the House of Representatives will tackle the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill on Friday before it adjourns sine die.

"Yes, the FOI is in our agenda and we will take it up before our sine die adjournment tomorrow (Friday)," said Nograles, noting that if the Speaker of the House is against the FOI "the measure would not have gone this far."

The Speaker made the declaration even as the congressional joint committee canvassing the presidential and vice presidential votes is in the thick of its constitutional function to count and declare the winners of the May 10 national polls.

He, however, expressed dismay over the attacks against the House leardeship by advocates of the FOI measure which is just awaiting ratification.

"I can’t really understand them. They are lobbying for the FOI, yet they resort to undue attacks against us. If we were against it, how come it has already reached its present status," said Nograles.

Once ratified by the House, the bill will be sent to the President for her signature or the bill may just be allowed by the Office of the President to lapse into law after 30 days following its official transmission by Congress.

Congress, particularly the House of Representatives, will hold its last regular session day tomorrow (June 4) starting at 3:00 p.m. before it adjourns sine die.

Advocates at the House of Representatives have been pushing for its ratification to pass it into law.

Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tanada III earlier hit the House leadership for allegedly delaying the passage of the FOI bill.

"I cannot accept the reasoning that we are still doing the canvassing of votes and thus cannot ratify the bill," he said.

Tanada lamented that the Constitution is very clear that Congress shall convene on the fourth Monday of July and shall continue to convene as such until 30 days prior to the opening of the next regular session of Congress.

This means that Congress must finish its legislative task around June 10, he said.

"The 14th Congress will be remiss in doing their primary duty of legislating important matters if this bill is not passed," he added. (PNA)

DCT/LGI

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