Casiño: Aquino’s anti-corruption speech is empty talk without a real FOI Law

PARTYLIST Rep.Teddy Casiño pointed out that President Benigno Aquino III’s delivery of the keynote address in the anticorruption forum in Davos would be hollow without a real FOI bill being passed.

“Saying that 6 days is enough time to pass the FOI bill in Congress, Casiño urged the president to certify the bill as urgent and for the House leadership to proceed with the period of sponsorship, interpellation and amendments so that changes would still be made to the bill to meet the February 6 deadline,” Casiño said.

“Malacanang had been stalling the passage of an FOI bill, even the severely watered down version at that. Pres. Aquino’s FOI version is so limited that transparency and accountability is restricted, illustrated by the many exemptions that covers corrupt practices, human rights violations and policy making,” he added.

“How can Pres. Aquino look world leaders in the eye and say that his government is for transparency and accountability but is the one primarily responsible for watering down the FOI bill?” the Makabayan senatorial bet said.

“Nor does it help the president’s cause when he applies double standards to his kaibigan, kaklase and kabarilan. The president should have first made the real FOI bill a priority before speaking in Davos, so that he would have something to brag about.

Last Monday, Casiño and other Makabayan bloc representatives announced their withdrawal of authorship from HB 6766. He said they cannot sponsor the present version of the FOI Bill which broadens the concept of executive privilege and other restrictions to take precedence over the public’s right to information.

“We cannot remain sponsors yet criticize crucial provisions that undermine the very essence of freedom of information. We are withdrawing as authors but remain as staunch supporters of an FOI law,” he said.

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