MANILA, Philippines – On the first day of the 16th Congress, the first-term representative of Camarines Sur’s 3rd district didn’t waste time.
Leni Robredo – thrust into politics after her husband, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, died last year – filed her first ever bill on Monday, July 1.
The Full Disclosure Bill is the same measure she promised during the campaign period to push. It seeks to mandate government agencies to fully disclose their financial transactions, budgets, and documents of public interest.
This was the same practice that her husband institutionalized as mayor of Naga City, and was trying to put in place in other local government units (LGUs) when he was secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), until he died in a plane crash in August 2012.
The bill aims to allow the public to access information from government agencies without any long or tedious processes.
It is based on a DILG memorandum issued in August 2010, just months into Jesse Robredo's leadership. DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2010-83 asked LGUs and DILG regional offices to report financial transactions and bidding data.
Leni Robredo said the bill is important because the people deserve to know "how government funds are managed, disbursed, and used," since it is the "hard-earned money of the people."
“[Financial disclosure] will augment our people’s efforts in creating a more transparent and accountable government,” she added.
Other versions of this bill have been filed by Senator Franklin Drilon in January 2011, and former Cavite Rep Joseph Emilio Abaya in August 2012. They are Robredo’s party mates.
Both Drilon’s and Abaya's versions seek to amend provisions in the Local Government Code.
Abaya's version, the Full Disclosure Act of 2011, introduced expenses and disbursements other than just statements of income and expenses to be posted. Drilon’s version sought to require LGUs to also disclose expenditures covered by the annual budget, including the Priority Development Assistance Fund of congressmen, the Special Education Fund that comes from real estate taxes, and the Internal Revenue Allotment. – Rappler.com