If there is an act that would define the 14th Congress and its legislative work, I would easily choose how it handled the Freedom of Information bill. It went through the motion of filing, conducting hearings, deliberating and debating on it, approving the FOI bill on third reading, synchronizing the HOR and House versions, and finally–with Senate already approving of the synchronized version–rejecting it in the HOR by a quorum lack. Only two steps–HOR ratification and presidential signature–are needed.
Alas, FOI law will not be. And we beheld the classic method by which the Arroyo administration undermined the democratic order by using the latter’s own rules (Constitution, laws, and House rules). The quorum question ranks right up there with the false filing of impeachment against GMA, the redefinition of a “midnight appointment”, short-cutting of procurement rules and regulation, and declaring martial rule through a “state of emergency.”
Unfortunately, this undemocratic mindset that evades responsibility to democracy will still be there in the 15th Congress. Democracy will have to find effective democratic tactics against undemocratic use of democracy. The passage of the FOI bill is both an end and a means to this end.
To the front!