MANILA – To address the growing number of vexatious requests cloaked under the citizen’s Right of Information, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), through the Freedom of Information – Project Management Office (FOI-PMO), has issued detailed guidelines for all FOI implementing agencies.
Under the FOI Memorandum Circular No.5, s. a request can be considered vexatious if it is frivolous, malicious, made in bad faith, intends to harass, vilify or embarrass, and poses an actual or imminent danger to the office, its officials or employees.
The new FOI policy also provides government agencies, including Local Government Units (LGUs), the standard evaluation criteria in determining whether a request can be considered vexatious.
The policy also recommends agencies to proactively clarify to the requesting party the nature and purpose of his/her request, instead of an outright denial of it. It is advised that agencies must extend assistance to the requesting party so that a valid FOI request may be filed.
PCOO Assistant Secretary and FOI Program Director Kristian Ablan said that while this Memorandum was able to provide safeguards to agencies against vexatious requests, it still ensures that the freedom of information is still afforded to citizens with legitimate requests. (PNA)