Nograles debunks claims non-passage of FOI bill 'scripted'

June 6, 2010 11:47 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, June 6 — Outgoing House Speaker Prospero Nograles on Sunday debunked claims that the non-ratification of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill was premeditated and "scripted."

He pointed out that he himself was frustrated over the failure of the House to ratify the measure, together with the other pending bills which only needed final approval in the last session of the 14th Congress.

"What scripted are they (critics) talking about? Hello? It was in open public transparent session in plenary. That's a very unfair accusation," he said.

The Speaker said that some lawmakers even posed questions about the bill having penal provisions that should be prospective and not retroactive, and wanted the sponsor to clarify the intent of the law on record after the same was ratified.

"(Manila) Rep. Bienvenido Abante (one of the sponsors of the FOI bill) would have clarified the same after ratification and not before for the House Journal record. Nothing malicious," he said.

"It's absolutely false to claim that I wanted this (non-ratification of the bill) to happen. We wanted to close the 14th Congress with a positive note and I wanted the FOI bill to be ratified as much as the media badly wanted it. I even placed the FOI bill first in the agenda, although it was supposed to be last to be tackled under the list of measures which were supposed to be tackled (last Friday). This is unfair," he added.

Nograles said that just like the proponents of the FOI bill and the media which lobbied hard for its passage, he was equally frustrated on what happened that led to non-ratification of the proposed law because aside from being a co-author, he also campaigned hard for the measure to reach the stage of ratification.

"Truth is that I am the most frustrated person out there (in the plenary) because I pushed for that bill. It would never have seen the light of day had I not been its main shepherd," he said.

He noted that a Speaker's power is "to approve what can be part of the session's agenda."

"But of course the militant media won't ever recognize this fact. Ask any congressman who really knows how the floor works… Nothing can ever be in the agenda without the Speaker's approval. That's the parliamentary practice through the years," he added.

Nograles said he even delayed twice the resumption of session, hoping for more warm bodies.

"I was at the majority office when proponent (CIBAC party-list) Rep. Joel Villanueva came to me and told me we already have quorum. They said we had 142 congressmen in the plenary. Like you and all the media watching in the gallery, I thought there was quorum. If I have been told that we didn't have a quorum and we need a few more heads, I would have waited a little bit more and tried to get more people on the floor," he said, adding that he even humbled himself by practically begging for (Camiguin) Rep. Pedro Romualdo to withdraw his motion questioning the quorum.

The Speaker said that there were at least 180 congressmen who authored and co-authored the measure and that number alone would have been more than enough to constitute a quorum.

But despite his pleas for their presence, he said, many of them decided not to attend the final session of the 14th Congress.

"I don't have the power to control the mind of my fellow congressmen. I can only persuade them and I don't think that I was remiss on that aspect. It's not my fault that these co-authors decided to be elsewhere because I don't have any magical power to make them appear instantly in the plenary," he said.

For transparency, Nograles said the following congressmen were absent or were present but did not respond to the roll call for some unknown reasons:

1. Abaya, Joseph Emilio A.

2. Agbayani, Victor Aguedo E.

3. Agyao, Manuel S.

4. Albano, Rodolfo III T.

5. Alcover Pastor Jr. M

6. Almario, Thelma Z.

7. Alvarez, Antonio C.

8. Amante, Edelmiro A.

9. Amatong, Rommel C.

10. Angping, Maria Zenaida B.

11. Aquino, Jose II S.

12. Arnaiz, George P.

13. Arquiza, Godofredo V.

14. Arroyo, Diosdado M.

15. Arroyo, Ignacio T.

16. Arroyo, Maria Lourdes T.

17. Balindong, Pangalian M.

18. Barzaga, Elpidio Jr. F.

19. Bautista, Franklin P.

20. Bichara, Al Francis C.

21. Biron, Ferjenel G.

22. Bondoc, Anna York P.

23. Bravo, Narciso Jr. R.

24. Briones, Nicanor M.

25. Britanico, Salvador B.

26. Cagas, Marc Douglas IV C.

27. Cajayon, Mary Mitzi L.

28. Canonigo, Ranulfo P.

29. Castro, Fredenil H.

30. Celeste, Arthur F.

31. Chiongbian, Erwin L.

32. Chong, Glenn A.

33. Clarete, Marina P.

34. Climaco, Mara Isabelle G.

35. Cobrador, Ceasar A.

36. Cojuangco, Mark O.

37. Coscolluela, Ma. Carissa O.

38. Dangwa, Samuel M.

39. Dayanghirang, Nelson L.

40. Daza, Paul R.

41. De Venecia, Jose Jr. C.

42. Diasnes, Carlo Oliver D.

43. Dimaporo, Abdullah D.

44. Duavit, Michael John R.

45. Dumarpa, Faysah RPM

46. Durano, Ramon VI H.

47. Dy, Faustino III G.

48. Enverga, Wilfrido Mark M.

49. Estrella, Conrado III

50. Estrella, Robert Raymund M.

51. Fabian, Erico Basillo A.

52. Fernandez, Danilo Ramon S.

53. Ferrer, Jeffrey P.

54. Fua, Orlando B.

55. Fuentebella, Arnulfo P.

56. Garcia, Albert S.

57. Garcia, Pablo P.

58. Garcia, Pablo John F.

59. Gatchalian, Rex

60. Gonzales, Aurelio Jr. D.

61. Gonzales, Neptali II M.

62. Gonzalez, Raul Jr. T.

63. Guanlao, Agapito H.

64. Gullas, Eduardo R.

65. Gunigundo, Magtanggol I.T.

66. Hataman, Mujiv S.

67. Hernandez, Ariel C.

68. Hofer, Ann K.

69. Ilagan, Luzviminda C.

70. Jala, Adam Relson R.

71. Jalosjos, Cesar G.

72. Jalosjos-Carreon, Cecilia G.

73. Jikiri, Yusop H.

74. Kho, Antonio T.

75. Lacson, Jose Carlos V.

76. Lagdameo, Antonio Jr. F.

77. Lazatin, Carmelo F.

78. Ledesma, Julio IV A.

79. Leonen-Pizarro, Catalina G.

80. Lim, Teodoro

81. Lopez, Carol Jayne B.

82. Lopez, Jaime C.

83. Macapagal-Arroyo, Juan Miguel

84. Malapitan, Oscar G.

85. Mamba, Manuel N.

86. Maranon, Alfredo III D.

87. Marcoleta, Rodante D.

88. Martinez

89. Matugas, Francisco T.

90. Mendoza, Raymond DC

91. Mendoza, Vigor Ma. D

92. Mercado, Roger G.

93. Miraflores, Florencio T.

94. Nava, Joaquin Carlos Rahman A.

95. Nicolas, Reylina G.

96. Omar, Haron D.

97. Palparan, Jovito Jr S.

98. Pancho, Pedro M.

99. Pancrudo, Candido Jr. P.

100. Pingoy, Arthur Jr. Y.

101. Plaza, Rodolfo G.

102. Ponce-Enrile, Salvacion S.

103. Prieto-Teodoro, Monica

104. Puno, Roberto V.

105. Ramiro, Herminia M.

106. Remulla, Jesus Crispin C.

107. Reyes, Carmencita O.

108. Reyes, Victoria H.

109. Robes, Arturo B.

110. Rodriguez-Zaldirriaga, Adelina

111. Romarate, Guillermo Jr. A.

112. Romualdez, Ferdinand Martin G.

113. Romulo, Roman T.

114. Roxas, Jose Antonio F.

115. Salvacion, Andres Jr., D.

116. Santiago, Narciso III D.

117. Santos, Estrella DL.

118. Sarmiento, Ulpiano II.

119. Seachon-Lanete, Rizalina L.

120. Singson, Ronald V.

121. Solis, Jose G.

122. Suarez, Danilo E.

123. Sy-Alvarado, Ma. Victoria R.

124. Talino-Mendoza, Emmylou J.

125. Tan, Sharee Ann T.

126. Teodoro, Marcelino R.

127. Teves, Pryde Henry A.

128. Tieng, Irwin C.

129. Tomawis

130. Tupas, Niel Jr. C.

131. Umali, Czarina D.

132. Uy, Edwin C.

133. Uy, Rolando A.

134. Uy, Reynaldo S.

135. Valdez, Edgar L.

136. Villar, Cynthia A.

137. Villarosa, Ma. Amelita C.

138. Yu, Victor L.

139. Zamora, Ronaldo B. (PNA)

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