VACC calls for passage of Freedom of Information law

  • A congressman gives a thumbs down as he votes against the extension of Martial Law in MIndanao at the session hall of the House of Representatives in Manila on December 13, 2017, during the deliberations to extend Martial Law in Mindanao. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte won martial law powers across the southern third of the country for one more year to combat Islamic militants and leftist rebels, as Congress brushed aside fears of a looming dictatorship. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

The anti-corruption advocacy group has called on Congress to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill and prove to the Filipino people that they have nothing to hide, according to The Manila Times Online on Friday (March 2).

Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chairman Dante Jimenez noted that social media seemed to have overtaken Freedom of Information where even confidential information could be found.

“It is difficult to keep things secret because of social media..So why is it taking lawmakers so long to pass the Freedom of Information law?” Jimenez said in an interview.

He cited the hearings of the House justice committee on the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, wherein information that should have been kept confidential were shared by witnesses and lawmakers themselves.

“Suspicion that lawmakers do not want to pass the FOI will because they have their own vested interest and businesses to protect are getting strong because of the delay of the passage of the law,” said Jimenez.

He said the FOI would be an effective tool in the government’s fight against corruption.

The House and the Senate have their respective versions of the FOI bills.