MANILA, (PNA) — The first Senate hearing on the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill will be tackled tomorrow (Wednesday), 4 a.m. and will be led by Chair of the Committee on public information and mass media, Sen. Grace Poe.
Poe has previously described the FOI bill as ‘the backbone of public information’, although she added that it will still be up to the President Benigno Aquino III to regard it as a priority bill.
“We all feel strongly (about) our advocacy, we have to prove that we are serious about issues that affect the countrymen—because they play a major part in the democratic system,” she said in an earlier interview.
The hearing will be attended by Secretary Herminio ‘Sonny’ Coloma of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office, Undersecretary Manuel “Manolo” Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, Deputy Director General Vicente Agdamag of the National Security Council.
Acting Chief for Legal Affairs Atty. Brando Noronia of the Civil Service Commission, and State Counsels Atty. Charlene Mae Tapic-Castro and Atty. Ulysses Aguilar of the Department of Justice have also confirmed their attendance.
Meanwhile, attending from the media group are Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas President Herman Z. Basbano, National Press Club President Benny Antiporda, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism Multimedia Director Eduardo Lingao, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility Trustee Vergel Santos.
Also attending are Judge Dolores Espanol, chairman of Transparency International-Philippines; Vicente Joyas, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; Ramon Del Rosario, chairman of the Makati Business Club; Atty Nepomuceno Malaluan, co-convenor of the Right to Know Coalition; Evita Jimenez, executive director of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, and the National Union of Journalists.
The academe will be represented by Dean Rolando Tolentino of the College of Mass Communications, University of the Philippines; Professor Clarita Carlos of the Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines; and Professor Prospero De Vera III of the National College of Public Administration, University of the Philippines.