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A CLEAR, working system – with specific procedures and dedicated staff personnel – triggers quick, correct, and complete action by some government agencies on access to information requests. But the absence of such a system in most other agencies, as well as the lack of fully defined rules and procedures that all agencies must observe in responding to requests, remain barriers to access.

TIME and getting thrown into the other side of the fence can change one’s perspectives somewhat. Less than a year ago, Manuel L. Quezon III was a columnist and television analyst. Although he had worked earlier as a consultant for the presidential museum, there was no doubt where his heart lay when it came to the Freedom of Information Act.

WHEN THE 15th Congress opened last June, there seemed to be renewed energy toward passing the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, which had floundered in the legislature’s previous incarnation, just when transparency advocates had thought it was about to be ratified.

Ombudsman Martires knew that as a public official with expertise and mandate on the issues raised, he was speaking face to face with a journalist with a legitimate journalistic purpose, on a matter of public interest. The conversation occurred in a public space and even with the full knowledge and in full view of his own personnel from the Office of the Ombudsman.

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