The authors of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill were not able to introduce it as scheduled during the Congress session on January 22, Inquirer.net reports. This was due to Davao del Sur Representative Marc Douglas Cagas’s request for an earlier adjournment so that the house will be prevented from reading into the records the new law about the creation of the province of Davao Occidental.

Davao Occidental used to be a part of Davao del Sur, and it was Cagas’s political opponent, Representative Franklin Bautista, who had authored the law.

Ayoko lang basahin na andito ako. Sana kapag nasa district na lang ako (I didn’t want it to be read while I’m here. They can do that when I’m in my district.). I just didn’t want it to be shoved down my throat,” he was quoted by GMANetwork.com as saying in a phone interview.

Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, who is one of the FOI bill’s advocates, said that he and other representatives asked Cagas to not move for the adjournment of the session, but Cagas wouldn’t budge. He also said that the reading of the law cannot be postponed because it was listed in the day’s Order of Business, and the reading of the FOI bill came after it.

“It’s very absurd that a parochial issue stops a bill we can all agree [is] a bill of national importance such as the FOI,” he said.

As a result, Congress now has only seven days to pass the FOI bill before it adjourns on February 9 to give congressmen seeking reelection the chance to campaign.

(Photo by Bill Bradford via Flickr Creative Commons)

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