Rappler journalist Pia Ranada publicized on Twitter the reply letter she received from the Malacañang Records Office (MRO) which denied her request for the breakdown of the expenses on President Rodrigo Duterte’s Russian trips to prove to netizens that despite the Executive Order (EO) on Freedom of Information (FOI), there are still public records being kept from the public.
However, Ranada’s conclusion on the MRO denial is misguided because the office that holds the records for list of expenses by the President is in the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and not MRO.
In her tweet of MRO’s reply letter, the Twitter account FOI Philippines explained that, “Hi Pia. Spox Abella, as a usec of PCOO, referred to FOI requests you made with PCOO. He is correct. We received none from you on Russia trip”.
To this, Ranada replied, “The request was to Malacañang Records Office. I never said I requested from PCOO ”.
It was the social media stalwart blog Thinking Pinoy that explained how wrong Ranada’s reply was to FOI Philippines because she was demanding for a document that MRO does not have a record of. Ranada’s request was denied simply because she asked for documents in the wrong office.
The blog linked to the list of documents that are in MRO for “guidance”, and it showed that none of their records hold information on Presidential trips.
Additionally, Thinking Pinoy argued that Ranada’s request was not outright denied because it said in the letter that the MRO would “gladly accommodate” the request when the documents become available for release.
In its full post on Facebook, Thinking Pinoy said,
“Dear SPO4 Pia Ranada Robles,
Ayan na naman ang fact check na yan. Jusko di na natuto.
Do not blame the government for your own ignorance.
For your guidance, the MALACAÑANG RECORDS OFFICE holds the following records [http://bit.ly/2tEgMta]:
>>START OF LIST<<
1. Presidential Directives
2. Presidential Issuances
2.1. Administrative Order
2.2. Executive Order
2.3. General Order
2.4. Letter of Implementation
2.5. Letter of Instruction
2.6. Memorandum Circular
2.7. Memorandum Order
2.8. Presidential Decrees
3. Acts, Republic Acts and Batas Pambansa
4. OP Decisions, Orders, Resolution issued relative to appealed cases in OP
5. Executive Clemencies
6. Presidential Appointees File (appointment, travel, resignation, etc.)
7. Presidential Action Papers
8. SALN of Presidential Appointees
9. 201 File of OP Personnel.
>>END OF LIST <<
Now, tell me which part of that list says “List of Expenses”.
The Malacanang Records Office — NOT THE PCOO — denied your request because you requested for a document that DOES NOT EXIST in MRO.
Let me spell it out for you:
1. MRO denied your request, neither PCOO nor Abella. Abella, who’s under the PCOO, did not receive your FoI request to begin with.
2. MRO denied it because the document doesn’t exist in their records.
Spokesman Abella was right in saying that they didn’t reject your request because Abella is with the PCOO, not the Malacanang Records Office.
I find your accusatory tweet odd, because it’s just like blaming the Department of Tourism for not issuing you a driver’s license.
And didn’t you see the last paragraph? MRO said they will accommodate your request as soon as the document becomes available.
Nako ‘teh, ha. Do you not see?
In the spirit of transparency, ibibigay pa rin sa ‘yo ang gusto mo once they get the docs you’re asking for, even if it’s not covered by the allowed info under the FOI law.
Tapos, masama pa loob mo?
Ulitin ko ha, the info you’re asking for is not covered by the right to information, pero ibibigay pa rin daw sa iyo pag available na.
Tapos choosy ka pa?”
Source: Thinking Pinoy
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