ADVOCATES of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill marched to historic Mendiola bridge Monday afternoon to ask President Benigno S. Aquino III to save the measure from certain death in Congress.
Groups belonging to the Right to Know Right Now! Coalition converged on the bridge fronting Malacanang Palace to remind the President of his commitment to support the FOI bill, now wallowing in Congress because of lack of support from the House leadership.
FOI advocates say the bill is practically in the intensive care unit (ICU) and nearing death, as Congress prepares to go on an extended election campaign break on February 8 without even deliberating on the FOI.
As of Monday, there are only six session days left before Congress goes on break. The bill has already been approved on the committee level, but is yet to be calendared by the House leadership for sponsorship on the floor. Only after the measure is sponsored on the floor will debates and amendments start.
To deliver the point, FOI advocates laid a mock patient on a stretcher at the foot of the bridge, to symbolize the state of the measure.
Responding to the rally in Mendiola, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda and Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III invited five leaders from the coalition to Malacanang for a meeting. The meeting was still ongoing as of four in the afternoon Monday.