4:49 pm | Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino has approved Malacañang’s version of the Freedom of Information Bill, a Palace official said Wednesday.

Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office said Aquino gave the instruction to “push ahead” in Congress with the FOI bill after the President ordered the removal of the provision on the creation of an information commission.

The information commission, Quezon said, would have been the arbiter on disagreements on whether a piece of information could be disclosed or withheld on the basis of public interest.

Quezon said the President only saw the commission as yet another layer of bureaucracy that could get in the way of achieving transparency.