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DRIFT and confusion. Some pockets of transparency but most everywhere, a predilection for opaqueness and more barriers to access in place. This is the access to information regime that lingers in the Philippines nearly a year after Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III came to power on a “Social Contract with the Filipino People,” which he said would be defined by transparency, accountability, and good governance.

LAWYERS at the Palace have been burning the midnight oil scrutinizing nearly a thousand appointments made by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in various government agencies, including state-run corporations, from January this year until she bowed out of office on June 30.

SHE ALREADY created a furor with her “midnight appointments,” or appointments made on the eve of an election ban. Yet a month after the May 10, 2010 elections, then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo still managed to sneak in a final batch of 13 appointments on the eve of her departure from office.

Rodrigo R. Duterte is a most secretive President when it comes to the details of his wealth. To this day, eight months after the April 30 deadline for filing, he has not released a copy of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 2018.   By all indications, Duterte sticks out as the lie of his own Freedom of Information (FOI) edict.

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