FOI-march

Public office is a public trust. This legal maxim is part of jurisprudence in our country. No official or employee has vested right over an office. Once appointed by the higher authority or elected by the people, they have to dispense their functions within the scope of their job descriptions without buts and ifs.

The trouble in our country “utang na loob” became part and parcel of the culture that derails the flow of righteousness. The appointing authorities always choose persons that are not only the best and expert on their field but most of all loyal and obedient to him, come what may. Thus, the appointee in return owe lots of gratitude and “utang na loob”. But utang na loob does not only evolve by virtue of pleasing the appointing power by way obedience. It also compels the appointing power to succumb to this typical behavior of obeying by way of greed.

In the pork barrel scam. Napoles is not a part of the government neither she became one, except his husband (a former military man). But her influence has developed a  “mores”  to politicians and its cordon sanitarian  of “utang na loob”. Utang na loob to Napoles, because she put additional asset to the account of the recipients or who may be assigned by the politician.

The politician would become subservient to her, that every time  they would have gathering a space is always reserve for her.  Not because of  “command” but by “common action on a certain agenda”.  This prejudice the public interest which is set aside and disregarded.

Let’s learn from this, and hope that politicians whose vested interest be given up for people’s sake.

Senator Grace Llamanzares  Poe is  fast forwarding the approval  of Freedom of Information (FOI) BILL  in the august  chamber. The Senate would be the first to approve the proposed law again while the lower house has been slow pacing its hearing. I remember last year when Congressman Erin Tanada of 4th District of the Province of Quezon and Congressman Ben Evardone  from the lone District of Eastern Samar almost lost their temper in verbal tussles in media because of this FOI issue.

Last Congress did not reach the finish line to become a law. Objections after objections on certain parts of the bill were hurled before the Committee on Public Information being headed then by Congressman Evardone. Hence, they ran out of time. It would be undemocratic if the Committee will not entertain some issues raised by some lawmakers. “Alam nyo naman lahat gusto bida” a gallery observer said. Evardone’s hands were cuffed to these moves of his co-representatives, despite his eagerness to let it move, like what Tanada wanted.

I hope today the House of the Representatives will not be late again the all the stake holders will not be sitting on the fence, watching its slow pace movement.

Come senators, Congressmen, Please heed the call , Don’t stand at the doorway, Don’t block up the hall. This famous line of Bob Dylan I suppose with echo to your membrane and brains.

Hurry up! Let the FOI become a law. We have a lot catching up to do.