House to come up with consolidated FOI bill
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 27, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The House committee on public information voted yesterday to come up with a consolidated version of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill by February as authors managed to parry the latest attempt to delay the passage of the landmark measure.

The panel, chaired by Misamis Occidental Rep. Jorge Almonte, formed a technical working group (TWG) that would consolidate 19 FOI bills filed in the chamber.

Diwa party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay, chair of the TWG, moved that the small group come up with a consolidated version by February.

Almonte and Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat, however, opposed the proposal, saying the measure was not an ordinary bill.

The authors countered that the bills were essentially refiled since the previous Congresses and a consolidated version was already approved on third and final reading in the 14th Congress.

Aglipay said the whole committee would still have to deliberate on the consolidated version.

“We are constituted by the committee and given a task. The TWG should have a clear goal to achieve. It’s not formed to stifle any issues to be discussed,” she said.

It took Almonte about two hours to put the motion to a vote, delaying the proceedings by trying to ask if every member of the panel wanted to be part of the TWG, and repeatedly asking the committee secretary to state the status of the motion.

The motion won by a vote of 10-5

Those who voted against the motion were Reps. Gwendolyn Garcia, Rodrigo Abellanosa, Isagani Amatong, Magnolia Nadres and Lobregat.

The vote was a glimpse of the final vote that the committee will eventually take before taking the bill to the plenary.

AGLIPAY ALMONTE AND ZAMBOANGA CITY REP CELSO LOBREGAT EMMELINE AGLIPAY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION GWENDOLYN GARCIA ISAGANI AMATONG JORGE ALMONTE MAGNOLIA NADRES AND LOBREGAT MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL REP RODRIGO ABELLANOSA
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