A start: Solons praise Duterte’s EO, to push for FOI covering legislative and judicial branches

  • Solons praised the president for the FOI executive order
  • They said it could be the start for a comprehensive FOI covering all three branches
  • Pimentel vowed to follow Duterte’s example, to push for comprehensive FOI law

MANILA, Philippines – Praising President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the Freedom of Information Executive Order (FOI) covering the executive branch, members of both the Senate and House of Representatives are hoping it would lead to a comprehensive FOI law covering also the legislative and judicial branches.

“It’s a very positive development and deserving of commendation. It’s a sign the new administration takes transparency and accountability seriously and is determined to fight anomalies and corruption in the executive branch,” Sen. Sonny Angara told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “The other branches of government should follow their lead and example. We’ve been filing this bill for some time and I hope under this administration, it will finally be passed into law.”

Sen. Grace Poe, Duterte’s rival in the presidential elections, described the order as a milestone.

“This is already indeed a milestone. There are a lot of things that we need to continue with regard to the Freedom of Information in other branches of government but we await with much anticipation that full implementation in the Executive branch,” she said.

For his part, incoming Senate Majority Leader Sen. Koko Pimentel vowed to follow Duterte’s example.

“I firmly support President Duterte’s EO implementing FOI in the executive branch. Through this measure, we open the government and officials to the scrutiny of the people,”  he said. “The President can expect the Senate to follow his lead with a bill to implement freedom of information throughout all branches of the government.”

On the other hand, Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate urged Congress to fast-track the FOI law.

“We urge in particular the House leadership to fast track the passage of a genuine FOI bill, one that will truly reflect the principles of full transparency in government and full accountability of government officials and employees,” he said.