Chiz backs passage of
Freedom of Info Bill
By Office of Sen. Chiz Escudero
PASAY CITY –
Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero yesterday expressed his support for the
passage of the Freedom of Information bill before the Senate adjourns
for the 2010 elections.
“This is a measure
that will go a long way in our people’s fight against graft and
corruption in high places and boost transparency in government. It’s
time has come,” he said.
Escudero also asked
the Senate to act on a bill requiring all public officials and
employees to waive the exemption of their deposit accounts from the
bank secrecy law. Senate Bill No. 1476 was one of the first bills he
filed during his first year as senator in 2007.
The waiver will be
made in favor of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Anti-Money
Laundering Council (AMLC) that would enable them to compel financial
institutions here and abroad to provide information and documents on
financial assets, deposits, investments in bonds and securities of
those in the public service.
The proposed freedom
on information act seeks to implement the right of the people to
information on matters of public concern and the state policy of full
disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.
amendments to the bill seeking to ensure that official records related
to loans obtained or guaranteed by government; government contracts;
statements of asset, liabilities, and net worth of government
officials; and those pertaining to official investigations on graft
and corrupt practices of public officers “should not be destroyed.”
He also asked for the
creation of a records management program that will allow easy
identification, retrieval and communication of information to the
The 40-year old
lawmaker also sought the creation of a database, in digital and online
form, of all laws, presidential issuances, and appointments, and
opinions of the Secretary of Justice.
“This will aid us all
in maintaining institutional memory. Rascals and malefactors have
always found comfort in the fact that we seem to have very short
memory as a people,” he said.
Escudero was among
several senators who signed the committee report on Senate Bill 3308
last June 3. The measure was jointly sponsored by the committees on
public information and mass media and on civil service and government