Sunday, August 7, 2011

How Taguig Fared in PCIJ's Audit of Access to Information

Recently, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism ("PCIJ") " deployed seven college student interns who filed requests for six major types of documents, including the asset disclosure records of the LGU officials, as well as the budget and development plans of the LGU. The audit also focused on documents pertaining to education, health, public safety, civil registry and property, and doing business." The subjects of the audit were the 17 local governments of Quezon City, Manila, Marikina, Paranaque, Pasay, Navotas, Malabon, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, San Juan, Valenzuela, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Pateros, Caloocan and of course,  Taguig.

The requests fell mostly on deaf ears. Taguig complied fully with only 28.57% of the information requests, albeit still ranking higher than Malabon, Valenzuela, San Juan, Manila, Pateros and Caloocan. Taguig was also cited for being amongst the LGUs which failed to supply the SALN, or Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of its local officials. In addition, the PCIJ had this to say about Taguig: 
Political rivalry also got in the way of accessing documents in Taguig. Majority of the requests were denied there supposedly because the documents had to be kept “confidential” on account of an ongoing court case between Mayor Laarni Cayetano and her losing rival in the May 2010 elections, retired Supreme Court justice Dante Tinga.

Only the documents from Taguig’s BPLO, the Assessor’s Office, and the City Health Department were provided. Requests filed with the Mayor’s Office, the Public Safety and Order Office (POSO), and the City Budget Office were not granted within the 15-working day deadline set in law.

Here's the link to the full PCIJ report: Part 1 and Part 2.

Makati-Taguig dispute

Fort Bonifacio, Makati City. Does that sound better to you?

Did you know that Fort Bonifacio, among other barangays, is part of a bitter tug-of-war  between Makati and Taguig? In 1993, Taguig filed an action  for judicial confirmation of its territory and boundary limits against Makati, Teofisto P. Guingona in his capacity as Executive Secretary, Angel Alcala in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Abelardo Palad, Jr. in his capacity as Director of the Land Management Bureau.  The complaint was raffled to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig, Branch 153, and was docketed as Civil Case No. 63896.

Nearly twenty years and at least two Supreme Court cases (G.R. No. 163175, 27 June 2008 and G.R. No. 168781 14 September 2007)  later, it appears that RTC-Pasig finally issued a decision. From the looks of things, it appears that it was in favor of Taguig. Now, Makati has asked the Court of Appeals to nullify said ruling, claiming, among others, that the decision was issued after Judge Briccio Ygana retired.