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IDEALS vs PSALMS

GR 192088, 9 Oct 2012


Petitioners: IDEALS et al
Respondents: PSALM et al

FACTS:

PSALM is a GOCC created by virtue of the EPIRA law. Said law mandated PSALM to manage privatization
of NPC. When PSALM commenced the privatization an invitation to bid was published and the highest
bidder K-Water was identified. The sale to K-Water was sought to be enjoined by petitioners who
contend that PSALM gravely abused its discretion when, in the conduct of the bidding it violated the
peoples right to information without having previously released to the public critical information about
the sale.

ISSUES:

1. Can the bid documents, etc. used in the on-going negotiation for the privatization and sale of
Angat hydro plant be accessed via the right to information?

2. Is the duty to disclose information the same with the duty to permit access to information on
matters of public concern?

HELD:

1. Yes. The court reiterated that the constitutional right to information includes official information
on on-going negotiations before a final contract. The information, however, must constitute
definite propositions by the government and should not cover recognized exceptions like
privileged information, military and diplomatic secrets and similar matters affecting national
security and public order.

2. No. Unlike the disclosure of information which is mandatory under the Constitution, the other
aspect of the peoples right to know requires a demand or request for one to gain access to
documents and paper of the particular agency. Moreover, the duty to disclose covers only
transactions involving public interest, while the duty to allow access has a broader scope of
information which embraces not only transactions involving public interest, but any matter
contained in official communications and public documents of the government agency