Foiled

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WITH ONLY six days of sessions left before the 15th Congress adjourns, and despite the optimism of Congressman Lorenzo (Erin) Tanada III, the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill was dead in the water as of this writing (January 24).

Although the House Public Information Committee chaired by Samar Representative Ben Evardone had seen the bill through, getting it into the plenary for discussion had so far been as problematic as the search for the Holy Grail.

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The new normal

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WHAT’S A Philippine election for that one should once more be inflicted on us?

It’s certainly not so the citizenry can elect new leaders–or even remotely better ones, that possibility being nil with the dominance of a handful of dynasties over the political system. Neither is it so the political system can demonstrate how peaceably power is won, and the validity of Philippine democracy re-affirmed. As occasions for violence and for ringing in the same old leaders and the same old policies, elections demonstrate how damaged democracy is in this country.

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Inevitable

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SOME institutions in Cebu including the media are embroiled in the impasse between Malacanang and suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. It has raised issues relevant to the media and the press, among them whether the suspension of the operations of a government-run TV station and the firing of a columnist of a newspaper owned by Garcia’s relatives are press freedom issues.

The Department of Interior and Local Government suspended Garcia last December for allegedly misusing government funds. Garcia claimed her suspension was part of the Liberal Party attempt to control the province in preparation for the May elections. She refused to vacate her office at the Cebu provincial capitol, triggering a crisis in that province that has affected government agencies like the police and a provincial government-controlled TV channel, and the local media, among others.

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Required reading

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THE DOJ (Department of Justice) “Primer on Cybercrime” should be required reading for anyone who’s ever had any doubts about the Aquino administration’s support for the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA10175).

Benigno Aquino III signed the RA 10175 into law on September 12, 2012, but his spokespersons initially blamed Congress for passing it. The Supreme Court stopped its implementation last October upon the filing by journalists’, media advocacy, lawyers’, and human rights groups and individuals of 15 petitions questioning its Constitutionality.

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