President Benigno S. Aquino III has endorsed to Congress 13 measures that he wants the legislature to prioritize during its next regular session.

The long-awaited Freedom of Information (FOI) Act that has been pending before Congress for the past 14 years, is again not one of them.

The President defended the non-inclusion of the FOI among the priority measures, saying that there were still details that need to be ironed out before he could endorse it to Congress. It would not be the first time the President skipped the FOI; during the first LEDAC meeting earlier this year, the measure had also failed to make the priority list. Advocates of the FOI were also disappointed that the President had not mentioned the FOI in his Inaugural Address, or in any of his last two State of the Nation Addresses (SONA).

Interestingly, the President was less uncertain of the FOI measure when he was still running for the Presidency, or when he was already President-elect. In separate interviews with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and with various other media groups in May and June last year, then President-elect Aquino said he was solidly behind the FOI. In fact, the President stressed that he supported the measure because transparency was one of the cornerstones of his new government.

The video below is a composite of interviews and news stories on the President’s apparent endorsement of the FOI during the giddy days after his apparent election victory last year. The stories, culled from voice over reports from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and GMA-7, were published in May and June 2010.

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