OSMEÑA HITS 'NPAs' (NON-PERFORMING ASSETS) IN AQUINO CABINET

After calling President Benigno Aquino III an honest and good man but an “awful” manager, Senator Sergio Osmeña III on Tuesday trained his gun at what he described as NPAs or “non-performing assets” in the Cabinet. Osmeña, an administration ally, now wants these NPAs to be removed from office. “Ang dami nilang NPAs diyan sa Gabinete, Non-Performing Assets. Eh, palitan naman ninyo. Nagmamadali na tayo kasi last two years na eh,” the senator said in a radio interview. (There are many NPAs in the Cabinet, Non-Performing Assets. Please replace them. We are in hurry because we have remaining two years only.) Osmeña had earlier called on the President to fire Energy chief Jericho Petilla. Many people, he said, were disappointed at how the current administration runs the country for its alleged failure to act on the things it should have done.

ALSO: Malacañang presses swift probe of rotten ‘Yolanda’ relief goods

Malacañang has demanded a swift and thorough investigation into the alleged dumping of rotten relief goods intended for survivors of super-typhoon “Yolanda.” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the inquiry being conducted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development seeks to determine how and why the incident happened. “The scope (of the investigation) includes where did it happen, how massive it was, where did the donation come from. So there will be an accounting on how did it happen and when the relief goods were given to the concerned local government,” Lacierda said in a Palace press briefing. Asked if people responsible for the relief good mess would be fired, Lacierda said they have to see the results of the inquiry “before we can lay our blame.” “We just wanted to know how did it happen, why did it happen,” he added. Several sacks of rotten food aid were reportedly buried in Palo, Leyte, after the relief goods were supposedly drenched in rainwater. The incident triggered complaints from a group of Yolanda survivors about the government’s alleged inefficiency in relief operations. Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman had earlier assured the agency would look into why the goods were not immediately distributed to the typhoon victims. Meanwhile, Father Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action Justice & Peace, yesterday assured the faithful that donations they received for Yolanda victims are all accounted for. Gariguez said the donations they received are all accounted for because they have a strict monitoring system for this. “All donations to Caritas Philippines and Internationalis have strict and efficient accounting mechanisms and processes. We have our monitoring system as part of observing stewardship principle,” he said.

ALSO: UN sets rehab review

THE head of the United Nations Development Program will meet with President Benigno Aquino III next week to discuss recovery efforts in areas battered by super typhoon Yolanda. The forthcoming visit of UNDP administrator Helen Clark was announced days after the Commission on Audit acknowledged the “chaos” in the government’s initial handling of foreign and local aid for the calamity victims. The UNDP said Clark will travel to Tacloban City to see first-hand the ongoing recovery activities in the areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda. Clark will also meet with Asian Development Bank president Takehiko Nakao during her three-day visit to the Philippines. She is expected to sign an agreement with Japan on “increased support to Yolanda recovery work” as well as witness the signing of the comprehensive peace pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front at the Palace on March 27. On Feb. 16, marking the 100th day after the super typhoon struck, the UNDP issued a report saying the needs in the typhoon-hit areas remained “enormous.” The UNDP has a three-year support program for the Visayas region, which revolves around three major pillars: governance; livelihood; and disaster risk reduction and sustainable environment. Amid criticism of the government’s handling of cash and non-cash donations for Yolanda survivors, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub Version 2.0 will be launched on April 25.

ALSO: Aquino: Another high-profile fugitive to be arrested

President Benigno Aquino III expressed confidence on Wednesday that one more most wanted fugitive may soon be captured following the arrest of businessman Delfin Lee. Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the Pinoy Music Summit in Manila, Aquino said they are expecting the looming arrest of this high-profile fugitive. "Palagay ko 'pag nagtagumpay ang isang kasalukuyang operasyon, mabibilib kayo doon sa kalibre ng mga nadakip at madadakip," Aquino said in his televised interview with media. "Palagay ko pwede kong ipangako sa inyo na magugulat kayo kung magtagumpay [ang operasyon]. Aquino did not disclose further details since they may jeopardize police operations. The President said he will just wait for the operations to end. Lee, owner of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp, was arrested on March 6 and had been detained in Pampanga. The businessman is facing syndicated estafa charges for defrauding Pag-Ibig Fund of about P7 billion by using fake borrowers and fake documents. Lee was one of the high-profile fugitives known as the "Big 5" carrying a bounty of P2 million. The four others were former-Army general Jovito Palparan; former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes; and Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr., who is the leader of Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association. Palparan is charged with the kidnapping and illegal detention of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006. The Reyes siblings are wanted for the murder of broadcaster Gerry Ortega while Ecleo has been convicted of parricide.

ALSO: DOE, ERC packed with incompetent political appointees – Osmeña

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the lack of experts in their offices were “the big ones at fault” over the market failure at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), a senator said on Thursday. The issue of market failure cropped up during the first hearing of the committee on energy on the recent power hikes, said its chairman, Senator Sergio Osmeña III. Osmeña though clarified that the market failure he was referring to was the shortage of power being offered at the WESM, which resulted in higher power rates. “We’re still waiting for the results of the deeper investigation undertaken by the ERC on whether there was collusion or not,” Osmeña said at a press conference in the Senate. “During our hearings, nakita po namin na if we had just added 300MW more to the supply offered on the market, the clearing price could not have been P32, it could have been only P12. And in some instances, it was even P5/kwh,” he said. The ERC has already directed the Philippine Electricity Market Corp, operator of the WESM, to re-compute the generation charges it imposed on consumers of the Manila Electric Co (Meralco) last December and January. The senator, nevertheless, viewed the move as a mere “political decision” by the ERC.
“Yes, they were pressured,” Osmeña said, responding to a reporter’s query. “The ERC made a political decision. It’s bad economics…” “… The big ones at fault here were the Department of Energy and the ERC,” he further said. Since 2007, Osmeña said, “There’s been awful, bad management at the Department of Energy.” “It’s unfortunate because we have a very good law, many other countries in the world are trying to copy our law now,” he said, referring to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or Epira.

ALSO: Noy still against Cha-cha

President Benigno S. Aquino III is still against charter change despite Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago's call to amend the Constitution, Malacañang said on Saturday. “Senator Santiago has always been very frank about parts of the Constitution that on her opinion need to be amended. However, at present, it’s really not a priority of the administration,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said. Santiago earlier said she wants to have the Constitution amended to ban members of political dynasties and candidates without college degrees from running for public office. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacieda said Aquino does not want to interfere in the process as he is busy with governance, but he is willing to discuss the proposal with lawmakers.

ALSO: Aquino won’t certify FOI bill

Despite his election campaign promise in 2010, President Aquino is not certifying as urgent the passage of the freedom of information (FOI) bill, although senators approved their own version of the measure on Monday. Malacañang instead urged advocates to exert pressure on members of the House of Representatives, which has not acted on the bill, to follow the Senate’s lead. “In our view, it would be more effective if the pressure will come from citizens themselves because these are legislators who were elected by the people and they are accountable to their constituents who put them in power,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma told reporters. Coloma maintained that the President was “very circumspect in the use of presidential power,” in this case, certifying to Congress the urgent approval of the bill regarded as essential in giving substance to his avowed reformist agenda and promoting transparency in governance amid widespread public outrage at purported abuse of pork barrel funds.
“That’s why he is weighing whether that is needed,” he said in Filipino, echoing the Palace’s typical response whenever asked about the matter.


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Osmeña hits ‘NPAs’ in Aquino Cabinet


Senator Sergio Osmeña III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, MARCH 24, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Maila Ager - After calling President Benigno Aquino III an honest and good man but an “awful” manager, Senator Sergio Osmeña III on Tuesday trained his gun at what he described as NPAs or “non-performing assets” in the Cabinet. Osmeña, an administration ally, now wants these NPAs to be removed from office.

“Ang dami nilang NPAs diyan sa Gabinete, Non-Performing Assets. Eh, palitan naman ninyo.

Nagmamadali na tayo kasi last two years na eh,” the senator said in a radio interview.

(There are many NPAs in the Cabinet, Non-Performing Assets. Please replace them. We are in hurry because we have remaining two years only.)

Osmeña had earlier called on the President to fire Energy chief Jericho Petilla.

Many people, he said, were disappointed at how the current administration runs the country for its alleged failure to act on the things it should have done.

The senator then cited for instance the government’s failure to address the problems on power.

“‘Yung nangyari po ngayong 2014, kasalanan pa ni Gloria Arroyo ‘yan. Ngunit, next year, 2015, kasalanan na ni [Aquino] ’yan, sapagkat he should have done something in 2010 to alleviate any power problem in 2015, ganun kahaba ang lead time na kelangan mo sa power,” he said.

Osmeña admitted that he was “very disappointed” with the President’s performance but said he did not regret his decision to help Aquino’s team during the 2010 elections.

“Hindi naman sapagkat (Not really because) up to this time, looking at the batch of candidates who were available in 2010, I think he was still the best candidate. And if I have to make my decision all over again, I would have come to the same decision,” said the senator when asked if he regrets supporting the President’s campaign.

“But I am also very disappointed, nahihiya po ako sa taumbayan, na nag-under perform siya. Kasi kung kaya mo mag-drive ng 80 mph, bakit ka nag-30mph? ‘Yun lang ang question ko,” he said.

(But I’m very disappointed, I’m ashamed to the public that he underperformed. Because if you can drive 80mph, why did you have to do it at 30mph? That’s my only question)

Osmeña then turned the table on Aquino, who recently warned the voters not to settle for “ampaw” (hollow) candidates.

“ We are all guilty of being ‘ampaw’ in a little way, or in a big way, depende iyan. I think that the Aquino administration might also be called ‘ampaw’ sapagkat marami silang hindi ginawa na magagawa nila,” he said.

(We are all guilty of being ‘ampaw’ in a little way, or in a big way, it depends. I think that the Aquino administration might also be called ‘ampaw’ because they have not done many things that they could have done.)

Asked if he and the President had any disagreements, Osmeña said, “Marami po.”

“Kung gagawa po tayo ng Report Card niya, makikita mo na napakaraming projects that should have been ongoing by this time, or last year, or 2 years ago, na hindi nauumpisahan hanggang ngayon.

That is the performance of the [Aquino] administration. And any delay in any infrastructure, means the people cannot proceed. Because hindi pa in existence di ba?”

Asked again if the President still listens to his advice, Osmeña said: “Ay hindi, wala na po ‘yan.

Hanggang 2010 lang po ‘yun. Pagkatapos, lahat ng classmates niya, lahat ng kabarilan, lahat ng kamag-anak, ‘yun ang pinipili niya.”

FROM MANILA BULLETIN

Malacañang presses swift probe of rotten ‘Yolanda’ relief goods by Genalyn Kabiling March 22, 2014


Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda

Manila, Philippines — Malacañang has demanded a swift and thorough investigation into the alleged dumping of rotten relief goods intended for survivors of super-typhoon “Yolanda.”

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the inquiry being conducted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development seeks to determine how and why the incident happened.

“The scope (of the investigation) includes where did it happen, how massive it was, where did the donation come from. So there will be an accounting on how did it happen and when the relief goods were given to the concerned local government,” Lacierda said in a Palace press briefing.

Asked if people responsible for the relief good mess would be fired, Lacierda said they have to see the results of the inquiry “before we can lay our blame.” “We just wanted to know how did it happen, why did it happen,” he added.

Several sacks of rotten food aid were reportedly buried in Palo, Leyte, after the relief goods were supposedly drenched in rainwater. The incident triggered complaints from a group of Yolanda survivors about the government’s alleged inefficiency in relief operations.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman had earlier assured the agency would look into why the goods were not immediately distributed to the typhoon victims.

Meanwhile, Father Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action Justice & Peace, yesterday assured the faithful that donations they received for Yolanda victims are all accounted for.

Gariguez said the donations they received are all accounted for because they have a strict monitoring system for this.

“All donations to Caritas Philippines and Internationalis have strict and efficient accounting mechanisms and processes. We have our monitoring system as part of observing stewardship principle,” he said.

“Our finances are even audited by external accounting firm following international standard,” added Gariguez, who also said that their records are open to the public. (With a report from Leslie Ann G. Aquino)

FROM MANILA STANDARD

UN sets rehab review By Joyce Pangco Panares | Mar. 22, 2014 at 12:01am

Dev’t program head to see PNoy, visit storm-hit areas

THE head of the United Nations Development Program will meet with President Benigno Aquino III next week to discuss recovery efforts in areas battered by super typhoon Yolanda.

The forthcoming visit of UNDP administrator Helen Clark was announced days after the Commission on Audit acknowledged the “chaos” in the government’s initial handling of foreign and local aid for the calamity victims.

The UNDP said Clark will travel to Tacloban City to see first-hand the ongoing recovery activities in the areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda.

Clark will also meet with Asian Development Bank president Takehiko Nakao during her three-day visit to the Philippines.

She is expected to sign an agreement with Japan on “increased support to Yolanda recovery work” as well as witness the signing of the comprehensive peace pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front at the Palace on March 27.

On Feb. 16, marking the 100th day after the super typhoon struck, the UNDP issued a report saying the needs in the typhoon-hit areas remained “enormous.”

The UNDP has a three-year support program for the Visayas region, which revolves around three major pillars: governance; livelihood; and disaster risk reduction and sustainable environment.

Amid criticism of the government’s handling of cash and non-cash donations for Yolanda survivors, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub Version 2.0 will be launched on April 25.

He said the new website will signal a shift from transparency to accountability and will include where the donations actually went.

“Version 2.0 will include the tracking of aid and assistance given to the national government. As had been announced previously, the COA as an access observer will audit the aid and assistance coursed through the national government,” Lacierda said.

“FAiTH is transitioning from transparency to accountability: accountability that is bolstered by the forthcoming participation of our foreign partners, and the firm commitment of the national government to build back better, which necessarily includes accounting for every centavo and peso that goes to helping our countrymen rebuild their lives after Typhoon Yolanda,” he added.

Lacierda also called on private organizations where a big volume of foreign aid has been channeled to be transparent too in accounting the cash and non-cash donations that they have received.

“The commitment embodied by FAiTH is a partnership: as government holds itself accountable to the public, so too do we encourage the Filipino people to take an active part and remain vigilant in ensuring that the help generously given to our countrymen is maximized,” he said.

Lacierda asked the public not to blame Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman for the rotten food aid distributed to storm survivors in Palo, Leyte.

“Before we can lay our blame, we just want to know how did it happen, why did it happen. So there will be an accounting,” Lacierda said.

Soliman said she has already initiated a probe on reports that maggots crawled out of the food packs that were distributed in Palo.

Barangay Gacao chairman Panchito Cortez said he saw residents converging on the barangay hall waiting for food packs delivered by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office of Palo.

When they opened the boxes, however, worms as big as grains of rice crawled out of tetra packs and cup noodles. Biscuits were expired, and even the bottled mineral water looked murky, Cortez said.

Cortez said the goods were received by Councilwoman Maria Anna Docena, and included 50 boxes of instant coffee, five sacks of assorted biscuits, cup noodles, instant viand in tetra packs and five boxes of mineral water.

Cortez said he immediately went to the Palo town hall and confronted MSWD officer Rosalina Balderas, who admitted that the goods came from their office.

Balderas said she did not know the food was already spoiled and infested with worms, Cortez added.

FROM PHILSTAR

Aquino: Another high-profile fugitive to be arrested By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated March 19, 2014 - 12:35pm 19 17 googleplus1 0


Image from the website of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG
).

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III expressed confidence on Wednesday that one more most wanted fugitive may soon be captured following the arrest of businessman Delfin Lee.

Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the Pinoy Music Summit in Manila, Aquino said they are expecting the looming arrest of this high-profile fugitive.

"Palagay ko 'pag nagtagumpay ang isang kasalukuyang operasyon, mabibilib kayo doon sa kalibre ng mga nadakip at madadakip," Aquino said in his televised interview with media. "Palagay ko pwede kong ipangako sa inyo na magugulat kayo kung magtagumpay [ang operasyon]. Aquino did not disclose further details since they may jeopardize police operations. The President said he will just wait for the operations to end.

Lee, owner of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp, was arrested on March 6 and had been detained in Pampanga.

The businessman is facing syndicated estafa charges for defrauding Pag-Ibig Fund of about P7 billion by using fake borrowers and fake documents.

Lee was one of the high-profile fugitives known as the "Big 5" carrying a bounty of P2 million.

The four others were former-Army general Jovito Palparan; former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes; and Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr., who is the leader of Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association.

Palparan is charged with the kidnapping and illegal detention of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006.

The Reyes siblings are wanted for the murder of broadcaster Gerry Ortega while Ecleo has been convicted of parricide.

DOE, ERC packed with incompetent political appointees – Osmeña By Maila Ager INQUIRER.net 5:39 pm | Thursday, March 13th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the lack of experts in their offices were “the big ones at fault” over the market failure at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), a senator said on Thursday.

The issue of market failure cropped up during the first hearing of the committee on energy on the recent power hikes, said its chairman, Senator Sergio Osmeña III (photo).

Osmeña though clarified that the market failure he was referring to was the shortage of power being offered at the WESM, which resulted in higher power rates.

“We’re still waiting for the results of the deeper investigation undertaken by the ERC on whether there was collusion or not,” Osmeña said at a press conference in the Senate.

“During our hearings, nakita po namin na if we had just added 300MW more to the supply offered on the market, the clearing price could not have been P32, it could have been only P12. And in some instances, it was even P5/kwh,” he said.

The ERC has already directed the Philippine Electricity Market Corp, operator of the WESM, to re-compute the generation charges it imposed on consumers of the Manila Electric Co (Meralco) last December and January.

The senator, nevertheless, viewed the move as a mere “political decision” by the ERC.

“Yes, they were pressured,” Osmeña said, responding to a reporter’s query. “The ERC made a political decision. It’s bad economics…”

“… The big ones at fault here were the Department of Energy and the ERC,” he further said.

Since 2007, Osmeña said, “There’s been awful, bad management at the Department of Energy.”

“It’s unfortunate because we have a very good law, many other countries in the world are trying to copy our law now,” he said, referring to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or Epira.

“We have good law. But just like any law, it has to be managed properly. And we are hoping that the administration of President Aquino would really put good people there who will be able to plan long,” said the senator.

Osmeña noted the people in the DOE and ERC were either political appointees, who are not focused on the energy industry, or lawyers, who are not experts on energy.

“Ang mga political appointees po, only one-half of their attention is on the energy industry, which is a very complex industry. They have their political plans. They’re thinking of other matters that the President may assign to them. So you got only half a secretary. We want a full-time secretary,” he said.

“Secondly, the Secretary must be dedicated to energy for the long haul,” he said.

At the ERC, Osmeña said, the people being appointed there were lawyers.

“We don’t have the experts there. Nag-a-appoint po sila ng abogado, ano nangyari (They appoint lawyers, what happened)? We need computer experts, electrical engineers, power experts there,” he said.

“There are five members of the ERC. Up to now, one sit is vacant. They still haven’t appointed anyone.

And there is only one non-lawyer there. Hindi po dapat ganun eh. It is very poorly managed,” the senator added.

FROM PHILSTAR

Noy still against Cha-cha (philstar.com) | Updated March 22, 2014 - 4:13pm 2 94 googleplus0 0


LACIERDA

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno S. Aquino III is still against charter change despite Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago's call to amend the Constitution, Malacañang said on Saturday.

“Senator Santiago has always been very frank about parts of the Constitution that on her opinion need to be amended. However, at present, it’s really not a priority of the administration,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

Santiago earlier said she wants to have the Constitution amended to ban members of political dynasties and candidates without college degrees from running for public office.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacieda said Aquino does not want to interfere in the process as he is busy with governance, but he is willing to discuss the proposal with lawmakers.

Valte said an anti-political dynasty bill is being pushed in Congress but has yet to reach the plenary for debates.

Lacierda meanwhile said the Philippine economy has improved despite the absence of a charter change.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino won’t certify FOI bill By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:39 am | Wednesday, March 12th, 2014


President Aquino: Still weighing. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Despite his election campaign promise in 2010, President Aquino is not certifying as urgent the passage of the freedom of information (FOI) bill, although senators approved their own version of the measure on Monday.

Malacañang instead urged advocates to exert pressure on members of the House of Representatives, which has not acted on the bill, to follow the Senate’s lead.

“In our view, it would be more effective if the pressure will come from citizens themselves because these are legislators who were elected by the people and they are accountable to their constituents who put them in power,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma told reporters.

Coloma maintained that the President was “very circumspect in the use of presidential power,” in this case, certifying to Congress the urgent approval of the bill regarded as essential in giving substance to his avowed reformist agenda and promoting transparency in governance amid widespread public outrage at purported abuse of pork barrel funds.

“That’s why he is weighing whether that is needed,” he said in Filipino, echoing the Palace’s typical response whenever asked about the matter.

Belmonte vow

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte vowed to work for the passage of the House FOI version before the current session ends. “You can hang me by the neck if it is not passed,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Nearly four years after Aquino promised during the 2010 presidential campaign that he would work for the enactment of an FOI law, the administration-controlled House had yet to act on it.

On Monday, senators passed their version of the FOI bill on third and final reading. In the House, a technical working group is still consolidating different versions of the measure.

Coloma insisted the President, who had secured from his congressional allies the swift impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona and the approval of such contentious measures as the reproductive health and sin tax bills, was not reneging on his campaign promise.

“There is no effort to avoid fulfilling that commitment,” he claimed, noting that “the commitment has already been fulfilled in actual government service” even in the absence of an FOI law.

“Our government is responsive to calls for our public servants to be more open, more transparent and to have more accountability,” Coloma said.

People pressure

Told that an FOI law would institutionalize such efforts, Coloma said: “That’s why we are one with the people in their desire to have this passed, and we hope that happens as soon as possible.”

He denied that the President preferred to have an FOI bill toward the end of his administration to deprive his critics of a way to go after him.

“There’s no such thinking,” he said.

In the previous Congress, the FOI law faced no serious obstacles at the Senate and was thus passed on third and final reading. The battleground was also the lower chamber.

A number of House members have been rejecting an FOI bill without a “right of reply” provision, a mechanism that would require news organizations to provide equal space and prominence to the response of parties involved in a story.

Critics of such a provision believe right of reply would be out of place in an FOI law, and should be considered as a separate legislative measure altogether.

24 bills to consolidate

Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan was skeptical that the Senate approval of the FOI bill would add pressure on the House to speed up its work on the measure.

“The chair of the committee is suspiciously and deliberately slowing down the process,” Ilagan said in an interview.

But Misamis Occidental Rep. Jorge Almonte, chair of the committee on public information, brushed off accusations that the majority was dragging its foot on the FOI bill.

24 versions

Almonte pointed out that the House had 24 different versions to consolidate in the technical working group.

“The pressure lies in the need to draft a well-crafted measure and committee report that is reflective of the views, sentiments and consensus of the members. The Senate version would be a good reference material which may facilitate consolidation of the 24 FOI bills under consideration,” Almonte said.—With a report from Gil C. Cabacungan


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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