MANILA — Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo on Saturday suggested prioritizing Freedom of Information (FOI) Act of 2016 before giving importance to Right to Reply Bill.
He said that the right to reply bill has a better chance of enactment when presented as separate from the FOI bill.
In a statement, Castelo said the FOI bill contains a number of provisions, making it complicated, and that adding the proposed right to reply provision would not in any way simplify the FOI bill.
Castelo urged Congress to enact the FOI bill first before tackling the proposed right to reply law.
“The FOI bill has been pending for quite a while. Congress has to assure the nation that it would enact the FOI measure in a year or two,” Castelo explained.
Call to revisit the proposed right to reply law have been made after a number of lawmakers have been named as among those who were allegedly involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam controversy.
The proposed right to reply law would mandate mass media outfits to give the same space and airtime to parties, who felt they were maligned by news reports about their inclusion in alleged scams or scandals.
While opposing any move by Congress to legislate the editorial policies of media outfits, Castelo said expressed preference that the right to reply would be treated by Congress as a separate legislative and not part and parcel of the FOI bill.