Bayan’s DOTr request to test Malacañang’s FOI
Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Monday said its recently filed request before the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will test President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) on Freedom of Information (FOI).
The statement came days after Malacañang released a long list of exceptions for the FOI.
Bayan wishes to inquire on the Light Rail Transit (LRT – 1) privatization deal and Cavite extension project spearheaded under the watch of former President Benigno Aquino III and ex-Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
“The FOI request seeks the disclosure of documents related to sovereign guarantees and penalty payments being sought by private operator Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC),” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said in a statement.
The FOI request urges DOTr to release the minutes of meetings between LRTA and the former Department of Transportation and Communication. The militant group also asked for other relevant documents, such as billing statements and Abaya’s letters to former Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad.
Reyes hopes that the recently-released exceptions of Duterte’s EO on FOI listed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Office of the Solicitor General will not be used to refute their request.
He said, “We hope that the recently released FOI exemptions will not be invoked in denying our request. We have talked with DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade who had initially assured us of their compliance with the FOI. The President’s FOI will be tested by the request we filed.”
DOTr has seven days to respond to Bayan’s FOI request.
The Presidential Communications Office last week released a draft FOI manual listing 166 restrictions to the EO, including Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth of politicians, national security, executive privilege, bank records, and reports on congressional disbursements.
As stated under EO No. 2 signed by Duterte on July 23, the Office of the Solicitor General and the DOJ were assigned to prepare a list of exceptions to the FOI measures on the executive branch. –Gianna Francesca Catolico, KS
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