While some vice presidential aspirants gave motherhood statements on the importance of the Freedom of Information bill, Congresswoman Leni Robredo cites her co-authorship of the bill in Congress, and how it's better from Senate's demand driven version.
It seemed almost formulaic for candidates, even those facing allegations, to use the need for an FOI whenever discussing the issue of corruption. Although the bill failed to pass in the 16th Congress, most of the aspirants maintain that they would still pursue the FOI.
During the sole vice presidential debates held before the May elections, the candidates were asked how they would fight corruption. Some of them had almost identical answers: pass the FOI bill.
Congresswoman Leni Robredo, co-author of the FOI bill in Congress, said that their version of the bill was better than the Senate's.
She said: "Yung akin pong bersyon ng FOI, iba po sa bersyon ng senado. Yung bersyon po ng senado, demand driven. Sinasabi po na pag may request ng dokumento kailangang isiwalat ng gobyerno. Pero yung bersyon ko po ng FOI, kahit na walang demand obligado ang gobyerno na gawin kahit walang demand."
(My version of the FOI is different from the version in the senate. The version in the senate is demand driven. It says that if there is a request for a document, the government will be obligated to divulge. However, my version of the FOI does not require a demand. The government should be transparent even if there were no demand.)
What other said
Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero used metaphors to describe the importance of the bill, without necessarily going beyond what the public already knew.
“Ang FOI maglalagay ng ilaw at camera ika nga, sa bawat transaksyon ng pamahalaan kung saan titiyakin natin at sisiguraduhin na sinuman gagawa ng katiwalian o katarantaduhan, mahuihuli at madaling makikita.”
(The FOI would put a light and a camera on every transaction of the government wherein we would make sure that anyone who commits an act of corruption would be easily caught.)
He said that he and presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe would create a Bureau of Customs.
Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, while maintaining that the FOI is important, accused some members of the media of being corrupt with power, rendering the court "irrelevant" because of imposing a trial by publicity.
Senator Bongbong Marcos said that equal treatment should be the key, but it must be without the prejudice of politics.
Senator Antonio Trillanes said that raising the salary of government workers would make them less inclined to accept bribes.
The debate was hosted by CNN Philippines.