The Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to advance the resumption of its session to 24 May 2010, Monday, instead of its original schedule of 31 May.
When the House of Representatives convenes on this day, we, representatives of over 100 organizations and coalitions comprising public-interest groups, environmental protection advocates, independent media groups, print and broadcast journalists, farmers organizations and support groups, women’s organizations, private and public sector labor unions, migrant workers, businessmen, academic institutions, and student and youth organizations, call on Speaker Prospero Nograles and all members of the House of Representatives to perform two historically significant acts in the country’s public life. First, ratify the bicameral conference committee report on the Freedom of Information Act, and second, proceed to adopt the resolution to hold a joint session for the presidential and vice presidential canvass of votes.
The first act will fulfill the long overdue constitutional duty of Congress to provide the law that will secure for the nation the full functioning of our constitutional right to information, and the duty of the state to implement a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.
After the long and arduous legislative process, from the first reading, committee hearings, approval on second and third readings in each chamber, and the reconciliation of the House and Senate version by a bicameral conference committee, the ratification will be the final step needed before the act can be transmitted to President Arroyo for her signature.
There is no reason why the ratification cannot be done on May 24. The Rules of the House of Representatives in fact call for it. Rule X, Section 61 states: “(T)he consideration of conference committee reports shall always be in order, except when the Journal is being read, while the roll is being called, or the House is dividing on any question.”