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House Bill No.

2123
Introduced by Reps. SATUR C. OCAMO! T"O#ORO A. CASI$O! %O"& '.
(IRA#OR! CRISIN S. B"&TRAN! RA)A"& (. MARIANO! &I*A &. MA*A!
ABRAHAM B. MITRA! &OR"N*O R. TA$A#A III! "#UAR#O C. *IA&CITA
"+pl,n,tory Note
T-e people.s ri/-t to o00ici,l in0or1,tion is ,n indispens,ble ele1ent o0 , 0unctionin/
de1ocr,cy. T-e ide,l o0 , /o2ern1ent by t-e people presupposes t-,t t-e people
collecti2ely ,nd indi2idu,lly -,2e ,ccess to in0or1,tion on 1,tters o0 public concern in
order to e00ecti2ely e+ercise t-eir so2erei/nty.
T-e 0ree 0lo3 o0 in0or1,tion ,bout t-e policies ,nd ,cti2ities o0 /o2ern1ent ,sserts t-e
0und,1ent,l principle o0 ,ccount,bility ,nd tr,nsp,rency in /o2ern1ent. It pro2ides t-e
institution,l 0ound,tion 0or , 1ore responsi2e /o2ern1ent by en-,ncin/ t-e c,p,city o0
t-e people to recei2e in0or1,tion ,nd pro2ide 0eedb,c4 on issues! pro/r,1s ,nd policies
t-,t concern t-eir li0e ,nd 0uture. T-e botto1line is5 , /o2ern1ent 3-ic- -,s not-in/ to
-ide s-ould not be ,0r,id o0 ,n in0or1ed ,nd enli/-tened citi6enry.
Access to o00ici,l in0or1,tion is , constitution,l i1per,ti2e. T-e pertinent pro2ision
under t-e Constitution! Art. III! Sec. 7! reco/ni6es it ,s , 0und,1ent,l politic,l ,nd public
ri/-t ,nd ,n essenti,l pre1ise o0 , 1e,nin/0ul ri/-t to speec- ,nd e+pression5 8T-e ri/-t
o0 t-e people to in0or1,tion on 1,tters o0 public concern s-,ll be reco/ni6ed. Access to
o00ici,l records! ,nd to docu1ents! ,nd p,pers pert,inin/ to o00ici,l ,cts! tr,ns,ctions! or
decisions! ,s 3ell ,s to /o2ern1ent rese,rc- d,te used ,s b,sis 0or policy de2elop1ent!
s-,ll be ,00orded t-e citi6en! sub9ect to suc- li1it,tions ,s 1,y be pro2ided by l,3.:
T-e people.s ri/-t to o00ici,l in0or1,tion /oes -,nd;in;-,nd 3it- t-e constitution,l
policies o0 0ull public disclosure ,nd -onesty in public ser2ice. Art. 11! Sec. 2< st,tes5
8Sub9ect to re,son,ble conditions prescribed by l,3! t-e St,te ,dopts ,nd i1ple1ents ,
policy o0 0ull public disclosure o0 ,ll its tr,ns,ctions in2ol2in/ public interest.:
T-e ri/-t to in0or1,tion o0 1,tters o0 public concern is , sel0;e+ecutory pro2ision 3-ic-
c,n be in2o4ed by ,ny citi6en. It deter1ines t-e rules by 3-ic- t-e duty to ,00ord ,ccess
to sources o0 in0or1,tion is en0orced. =-ile t-e 1,nner o0 e+,1inin/ public records 1,y
be sub9ect to re,son,ble re/ul,tion by t-e /o2ern1ent ,/ency in custody t-ereo0! t-e duty
to disclose t-e in0or1,tion o0 public concern ,nd to ,00ord ,ccess to public records
c,nnot be discretion,ry on t-eir p,rt. Ot-er3ise! t-e en9oy1ent o0 t-e constitution,l ri/-t
3ill be ne/,ted by ,ny 3-i1sic,l e+ercise o0 ,/ency discretion.
Un0ortun,tely! despite t-e constitution,l /u,r,ntee ,nd t-e 9udici,l ,00ir1,tion o0 t-e
ri/-t to in0or1,tion! deni,l o0 ,ccess to in0or1,tion on 1,tters o0 public concern re1,ins
3idespre,d in t-e /o2ern1ent bure,ucr,cy. (,ryin/ 1e,sures -,2e been instituted 3-ic-!
inste,d o0 pro1otin/ t-e /u,r,nteed ,ccess to co2ered in0or1,tion! -,2e con0used i0 not
sti0led t-e e+ercise o0 t-e ri/-t.
T-is situ,tion c,n be corrected by speci0ic ,ppropri,te le/isl,tion t-,t 3ould prescribe
co11on b,seline st,nd,rds 3-ic- co1ple1ent t-e constitution,l /u,r,ntee ,nd rele2,nt
9urisprudence! ,nd 1ore i1port,ntly! pro2ide teet- to t-e e+t,nt but sc,nt pro2ision o0
Republic Act >713 ?T-e Code o0 Conduct ,nd "t-ic,l St,nd,rds 0or ublic O00ici,ls ,nd
"1ployees@. RA >713 st,tes t-ese /ener,l 3or4in/ principles5 1@ AM,4e docu1ents
,ccessible to t-e public. ; All public docu1ents 1ust be 1,de ,ccessible to! ,nd re,dily
,2,il,ble 0or inspection by t-e public 3it-in re,son,ble 3or4in/ -oursAB 2@ A#isclosure
,ndCor 1isuse o0 con0identi,l in0or1,tion. ; ublic o00ici,ls ,nd e1ployees s-,ll not use
or di2ul/e! con0identi,l or cl,ssi0ied in0or1,tion o00ici,lly 4no3n to t-e1 by re,son o0
t-eir o00ice ,nd not 1,de ,2,il,ble to t-e public eit-er to 0urt-er t-eir pri2,te interests or
/i2e undue ,d2,nt,/e to ,nyone! or to pre9udice t-e public interest.:
A le/isl,ti2e en,ct1ent is needed to r,tion,li6e t-e -,rs- e+e1ptions pro2ided 0or in t-e
April 21! 1D<D Rules I1ple1entin/ t-e Code o0 Conduct ,nd "t-ic,l St,nd,rds 0or ublic
O00ici,ls ,nd "1ployees ?RA >713@ pro1ul/,ted by t-e Ci2il Ser2ice Co11ission ,nd to
pro2ide e00ecti2e 1e,ns 0or redress o0 2iol,tions o0 t-e ri/-t. Consistent 3it- t-e
constitution,l policy on tr,nsp,rency o0 tr,ns,ction ,nd ,ccess to in0or1,tion! Con/ress
1ust be 8,ble to subst,nti,te ,nd /o2ern1ent ,/encies s-ould be ,ble to i1ple1ent
,ccess to co2ered in0or1,tion 3-ic- o0 necessity ,ssures 0ull public disclosure o0 ,ll
tr,ns,ctions in2ol2in/ public interest.
T-is bill ,ddresses t-e 0ore/oin/ issues. It see4s t-e eli1in,tion o0 esoteric ,nd -,rdly
co1pre-ensible ,nd e+cessi2ely bro,d 9,r/on o0 e+e1ptions to t-e e+ercise o0 t-e ri/-t to
o00ici,l in0or1,tion. Since t-e e+ceptions si/n,l o00ici,l -i/-;-,ndedness ,nd br,s-ness!
t-ey -,2e o0ten been t-e c,use 0or t-e l,c4,d,isic,l e+ercise o0 ,ccess to 1,tters o0
public concern. In t-is re/,rd! t-e bill proposes to si1pli0y t-e li1it,tions to 8"+cept
3-en it is cle,r t-,t t-e purpose o0 t-e e+,1in,tion is to ,bet or pro1ote or co11it cri1e
or 3ron/doin/ or to en/,/e in s-eer ,nd idle curiosity.: By t-e rest,te1ent o0 t-e
e+ceptions to le2els c,p,ble o0 ordin,ry underst,ndin/! t-is bill reduces inst,nces o0
br,s- re9ection o0 reEuests 0or ,ccess to o00ici,l in0or1,tion ,nd in t-e process stresses
t-e b,sic postul,te t-,t t-e people c,n be trusted 3it- in0or1,tion 3-ic- in t-e 0irst pl,ce
t-ey ou/-t to 4no3 bein/ t-e source o0 ,ll /o2ern1ent ,ut-ority.
T-is bill puts in pl,ce , uni0or1! si1ple! speedy ,nd e00ecti2e 1e,ns o0 en0orcin/ t-e
ri/-t to in0or1,tion. It or/,ni6es t-e scope o0 t-e /u,r,ntee by codi0yin/ de0initions o0 its
co2er,/e ,nd cl,ri0yin/ situ,tions 0or its re,son,ble e+erciseB pro2ides , correcti2e
1e,sure ,/,inst ,nti;people ,nd cri1in,l ,ctsB ,nd institutes precise pen,lties 0or
unl,30ul deni,l o0 ,ccess to o00ici,l in0or1,tion.
T-e 4ey 0e,tures o0 t-is bill ,lso include ,bsolute ,nd 1,nd,tory ,ccess to 1,tters o0
o00ici,l in0or1,tion! public concern ,nd public interest in speci0ied c,ses ,nd t-e
re0ine1ent o0 t-e concept ,nd oper,tion o0 co2ered in0or1,tion in 3-,te2er 0or1 or
n,ture! 3-et-er 3ritten! or,l or 2isu,l! ,1on/ ot-ers.
I11edi,te p,ss,/e o0 t-is bill is e,rnestly sou/-t.
AN ACT TO "NSUR" UB&IC ACC"SS TO O))ICIA& R"COR#S! #OCUM"NTS
AN# ANF OTH"R IN)ORMATION O) UB&IC CONC"RN
Be it en,cted by t-e Sen,te ,nd House o0 Represent,ti2es o0 t-e -ilippines in Con/ress
,sse1bled5
S"CTION 1. Title. T-is Act s-,ll be 4no3n ,s 8An Act to "nsure ublic Access to
O00ici,l Records! #ocu1ents ,nd Any Ot-er In0or1,tion o0 ublic Concern: or! in s-ort!
8)reedo1 o0 In0or1,tion Act.:
S"CTION 2. #ecl,r,tion o0 olicy. It is t-e policy o0 t-e St,te to ,00ord t-e people bro,d
,ccess to in0or1,tion in its custody consistent 3it- t-eir constitution,l ri/-t to
in0or1,tion on 1,tters o0 public concern ,nd in 0urt-er,nce o0 tr,nsp,rency ,nd
,ccount,bility in /o2ern1ent. I
S"CTION 3. #uty to #isclose. T-e duty to disclose ,nd 1,4e ,2,il,ble 0or public
scrutiny sources o0 o00ici,l in0or1,tion ,nd 1,tters o0 public concern ,nd public interest
in ,ny 0or1 3-,tsoe2er s-,ll be de1,nd,ble 0ro1 t-e e+ecuti2e! t-e le/isl,ti2e ,nd t-e
9udici,l br,nc-es o0 t-e /o2ern1entB t-e loc,l /o2ern1ent unitsB ,ll dep,rt1ents!
,/encies ,nd instru1ent,lities o0 t-e Republic o0 t-e -ilippines! includin/ /o2ern1ent;
o3ned or controlled corpor,tions ,nd /o2ern1ent 0in,nci,l institutions ,s 3ell ,s t-eir
respecti2e subsidi,riesB st,te colle/es ,nd uni2ersitiesB ,nd indi2idu,l public o00icers ,nd
e1ployees re/,rdless o0 st,tus o0 e1ploy1ent ,ndCor contr,ctu,l undert,4in/.
"+cept 3-en it is est,blis-ed by subst,nti,l e2idence in , court proceedin/ or court
process t-,t t-e purpose o0 t-e e+,1in,tion is to ,bet or pro1ote or co11it cri1in,l ,cts
de0ined ,ndCor enu1er,ted in e+istin/ st,tutes or to en/,/e in s-eer ,nd idle curiosity! t-e
duty to disclose s-,ll not be denied by re,son o0 t-e 1oti2es! re,sons ,nd ob9ects o0 t-e
person see4in/ ,ccess to t-e records or e+ercise o0 t-e ri/-t. 'o2ern1ent ,/encies ,nd
indi2idu,l person,lities -,2in/ t-e duty to disclose under t-is Section ,re 3it-out
discretion in re0usin/ disclosure o0 or ,ccess to o00ici,l in0or1,tion or ite1s o0 public
concern ,nd interest! ,lt-ou/- 3it-out pre9udice to t-e i1position o0 re,son,ble
re/ul,tions on t-e 1,nner in 3-ic- t-e ri/-t to in0or1,tion 1,y be e+ercised by t-e
public but con0ined to prescribin/ t-e 1,nner ,nd -ours o0 e+,1in,tion so t-,t d,1,/e to
or loss o0 t-e records 1,y be ,2oided or t-,t undue inter0erence 3it- t-e duties o0 t-e
custodi,n o0 t-e boo4s ,nd docu1ents ,nd ot-er e1ployees 1,y be pre2ented! ,nd t-,t
t-e ri/-t o0 ot-er persons entitled to 1,4e inspection 1,y be insured.
S"CTION G. Co2ered In0or1,tion. T-e duty to disclose in0or1,tion s-,ll include o00ici,l
in0or1,tion ,nd 1,tters o0 public concern ,nd interest. AIn0or1,tion. s-,ll be understood
to 1e,n ,ny 4no3led/e t-,t c,n be co11unic,ted re/,rdless o0 its p-ysic,l 0or1 or t-e
0or1,t in 3-ic- it is cont,ined! 3-et-er in t,pe! p-oto/r,p-ic! or electronic 0or1,t! t-,t
is o3ned by! produced by or 0or! or is under t-e control o0! includin/ testi1ony or or,l
recollection o0 persons -,2in/ person,l 4no3led/e o0 t-e in0or1,tion sou/-t under t-e
e1ploy or control or super2ision o0! t-e concerned /o2ern1ent ,/ency under Section 3
-ereo0. T-e 0or1 in 3-ic- in0or1,tion is 1,int,ined s-,ll not ,00ect its ,2,il,bility.
A1on/ t-e o00ici,l in0or1,tion ,nd 1,tters o0 public concern ,nd interest co2ered under
t-e duty to disclose ,re H
1 . O00ici,l ,cts o0 public o00icers done in t-e pursuit o0 t-eir o00ici,l 0unctionsB
2. %udici,l or Eu,si;9udici,l decisions or orders ,s 3ell ,s records o0 court c,ses in
3-,te2er st,/e! ,nd policy decisions o0 public o00icers! bo,rds! co11issions or tribun,lsB
3. Tr,ns,ctions! contr,cts ,nd ,/ree1ents i1bued 3it- public interest! 3-et-er t-e
/o2ern1ent is , no1in,l or ,cti2e contr,ctin/ or counter;p,rty! includin/ ne/oti,tions or
de0inite propositions o0 t-e /o2ern1ent le,din/ to t-e consu11,tion o0 t-e tr,ns,ctions!
contr,cts ,nd ,/ree1entsB
G. 'o2ern1ent rese,rc- d,t, used ,s b,sis 0or policy de2elop1ent! en,ct1ent o0
st,tutes! rules ,nd re/ul,tions! ,nd e+ecution o0 tr,ns,ctions! contr,cts ,nd ,/ree1ents
i1bued 3it- public interest! 3-et-er t-e /o2ern1ent is , no1in,l or ,cti2e contr,ctin/ or
countGr;p,rty! includin/ ne/oti,tions or de0inite propositions o0 t-e /o2ern1ent le,din/
to t-e consu11,tion o0 t-e tr,ns,ctions! contr,cts ,nd ,/ree1entsB
I. &,3s! policies! rules ,nd procedure! 3or4 pro/r,1s! pro9ects ,nd per0or1,nce
t,r/ets! per0or1,nce reportsB
>. ublic ,nd pri2,te 3ritin/s co1in/ into t-e -,nds o0 public o00icers in connection
3it- t-eir o00ici,l 0unctionsB
7. Boo4s o0 ,ccount! led/ers! ,nd ot-er docu1ents o0 3-,te2er n,ture or c-,r,cter used
,s b,sis 0or ,pplic,tions! reports or returns or ot-er docu1ents re/,rdless o0 n,ture or
c-,r,cter sub1itted to t-e /o2ern1entB ,nd
S. All ot-er in0or1,tion reEuired by l,3 to be ,ccessible to t-e public.
S"CTION I. M,nd,tory Co1pli,nce. No public o00icer! e1ployee or /o2ern1ent
institution 0,ilin/ under Section 3 -ereo0 s-,ll 3it--old public scrutiny o0 sources o0
o00ici,l in0or1,tion or 1,tters o0 public concern ,nd interest under Section G -ereo0 on
t-e /rounds o0 n,tion,l security! public order ,nd s,0ety or t-,t t-e in0or1,tion is
speci0ic,lly e+e1pted 0ro1 disclosure by ,ny ot-er st,tute! co11on l,3 ,nd
intern,tion,l l,3 principles! ,nd pertinent 9urisprudence. RO(I#"#! t-,t t-e sole ,nd
only e+ception to t-is rule on 1,nd,tory co1pli,nce is 3-en it is est,blis-ed by
subst,nti,l e2idence in , court proceedin/ or process t-,t t-e purpose o0 t-e e+,1in,tion
is to ,bet or pro1ote or co11it cri1in,l ,cts de0ined ,ndCor enu1er,ted in e+istin/
st,tutes or to en/,/e in s-eer ,nd idle curiosity.
S"CTION >. Necessity 0or Court Order. T-e /o2ern1ent ,/ency or indi2idu,l public
o00icer or e1ployee 3-ose pertinent records ,nd ot-er sources o0 in0or1,tion -,2e been
sou/-t 0or public ,ccess! ,s -erein de0ined! -,s t-e burden o0 s-o3in/ by subst,nti,l
proo0 t-,t t-e in0or1,tion reEuested is not o00ici,l in0or1,tion or 1,tter o0 public
concern or interest! or! i0 it is o00ici,l in0or1,tion or , 1,tter o0 public concern ,nd
interest! t-,t t-e purpose o0 t-e e+,1in,tion or inEuiry is to ,bet or pro1ote or co11it
cri1in,l ,cts de0ined ,ndCor enu1er,ted in e+istin/ st,tutes or to en/,/e in s-eer ,nd idle
curiosity. In t-e ,bsence o0 , court order! process or 3rit denyin/ or pro-ibitin/ ,ccess to
o00ici,l in0or1,tion ,nd 1,tters o0 public concern or interest! no public o00icer! e1ployee!
/o2ern1ent institution or o00ice! 0,llin/ under Section 3 -ereo0! s-,ll 3it--old public
scrutiny o0 sources o0 o00ici,l in0or1,tion or 1,tters o0 public concern ,nd interest under
Section G -ereo0.
S"CTION 7. %urisdiction o2er M,tters Concernin/ Ri/-t. All 1,tters ,risin/ 0ro1 t-is
l,3! includin/ but not li1ited to t-e process or procedure o0 securin/ ,. court order! 3rit!
or process denyin/ or pro-ibitin/ ,ccess to o00ici,l in0or1,tion ,nd 1,tters o0 public
concern or interest! s-,ll 0,ll 3it-in t-e e+clusi2e ,nd ori/in,l 9urisdiction o0 t-e Re/ion,l
Tri,l Court -,2in/ territori,l 9urisdiction o2er t-e o00ice or br,nc- o0 t-e public o00icer!
e1ployee! /o2ern1ent institution or o00ice or pri2,te enterprises 3-ose pertinent records
,nd ot-er sources o0 in0or1,tion -,2e been sou/-t 0or public ,ccess! or ,ltern,ti2ely!
o2er t-e pl,ce o0 residence o0 t-e p,rty reEuestin/ suc- in0or1,tion.
S"CTION B. ReEuests 0or Access to In0or1,tion. Any person 3-o 3is-es to obt,in
in0or1,tion s-,ll noti0y t-e /o2ern1ent body concerned in 3ritin/! re,son,bly
describin/ t-e in0or1,tion reEuired.
S"CTION D. eriod to #isclose In0or1,tion. ",c- /o2ern1ent body! upon ,ny reEuest
0or in0or1,tion! s-,ll ,00ord ,ccess to t-e ,ppropri,te source o0 o00ici,l in0or1,tion bein/
reEuested 3it-in 0i2e ?I@ 3or4in/ d,ys ,0ter its receipt. In no c,se s-,ll t-is period be
e+tended unless t-ere is , need to sort! se,rc- or collect t-e speci0ic o00ici,l in0or1,tion
bein/ reEuested 0ro1 2olu1inous sources o0 in0or1,tion! in 3-ic- c,se! t-e person
1,4in/ t-e reEuest s-,ll be duly noti0ied o0 t-e e+tension ,nd re,sons t-ere0or. In no c,se
s-,ll t-e e+tension be 1ore t-,n ten ?1J@ 3or4in/ d,ys counted 0ro1 t-e e+pir,tion o0 t-e
0i0t- 3or4in/ d,y. T-e /o2ern1ent body! public o00icer or e1ployee so reEuested 1,y
c-,r/e , re,son,ble ,nd st,nd,rd 0ee to reco2er costs o0 se,rc- ,nd reproduction.
S"CTION 1J. Cri1in,l en,lties in C,se o0 Unl,30ul #eni,l. Any /o2ern1ent ,/ency or
public o00icer or e1ployee 0,ilin/ under Sec. 3 -ereo0 0ound /uilty o0 denyin/ ,ccess to
in0or1,tion 3it-out 2,lid /round or in 2iol,tion o0 t-e pro2isions -erein set 0ort- s-,ll be
punis-ed 3it- , 0ine o0 not 1ore t-,n T3enty T-ous,nd esos ?2J!JJJ.JJ@ or
i1prison1ent o0 ,t le,st ?>@ 1ont-s ,nd one ?1@ d,y ut not 1ore t-,n si+ ?>@ ye,rs 3it-
,ll t-e ,ccessory pen,lties pro2ided by l,3! or bot-! ,t t-e discretion o0 t-e court. T-e
pen,lty s-,ll be li1ited to t-e p,y1ent o0 0ine in t-e c,se o0 9uridic,l persons! 3it-out
pre9udice to t-e i1position o0 t-e ,ppropri,te pen,lties upon t-e errin/ personnel t-ereo0.
S"CTION 11. Ad1inistr,ti2e en,lties in C,se o0 Unl,30ul #eni,l. #enyin/ ,ccess to
in0or1,tion 3it-out 2,lid /round or in 2iol,tion o0 t-e pro2isions -erein set 0ort- by
personnel o0 /o2ern1ent ,/encies under Sec. 3 -ereo0 s-,ll constitute /r,2e 1isconduct
punis-,ble by dis1iss,l 0ro1 t-e ser2ice 3it- 0or0eiture o0 retire1ent bene0its e+cept
e,rned le,2e credits or suspension 0ro1 o00ice 3it-out p,y 0or , period not e+ceedin/ one
?1@ ye,r ,t t-e discretion o0 t-e proper ,d1inistr,ti2e body.
S"CTION 12. Sep,r,bility Cl,use. I0! 0or ,ny re,son! ,ny p,rt or pro2ision o0 t-is Act is
decl,red in2,lid or unconstitution,l! ot-er p,rts or pro2isions -ereo0 3-ic- ,re not
,00ected t-ereby s-,ll continue to be in 0ull 0orce ,nd e00ect.
S"CTION 13. Repe,lin/ Cl,use. All l,3s! decrees! e+ecuti2e orders! rules ,nd
re/ul,tions! issu,nces or ,ny p,rts t-ereo0 inconsistent 3it- t-e pro2isions o0 t-is Act ,re
dee1ed repe,led or ,1ended ,ccordin/ly.
S"CTION 1G. "00ecti2ity. T-is Act s-,ll t,4e e00ect ,0ter 0i0teen ?1I@ d,ys 0ollo3in/ t-e
co1pletion o0 its public,tion in t-e O00ici,l ',6ette or in , n,tion,l ne3sp,per o0 /ener,l
circul,tion.
Appro2ed!

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