"x x x.
Violation of Right to Information
The people’s right to information is provided in Section 7, Article III of the Constitution, which reads:
Sec. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. (Emphasis supplied.)
The people’s constitutional right to information is intertwined with the government’s constitutional duty of full public disclosure of all transactions involving public interest.28 Section 28, Article II of the Constitution declares the State policy of full transparency in all transactions involving public
interest, to wit:
Sec. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. (Italics supplied.)
The foregoing constitutional provisions seek to promote transparency in policy-making and in the operations of the government, as well as provide the people sufficient information to exercise effectively other constitutional rights. They are also essential to hold public officials “at all times x xx accountable to the people,” for unless citizens have the proper information, they cannot hold public officials accountable for anything. Armed with the right information, citizens can participate in public discussions leading to the formulation of government policies and their effective implementation. An informed citizenry is essential to the existence and proper functioning of any democracy.29
Consistent with this policy, the EPIRA was enacted to provide for “an orderly and transparent privatization” of NPC’s assets and liabilities.30 Specifically, said law mandated that “[a]ll assets of NPC shall be sold in an open and transparent manner through public bidding.”31 In Chavez v. Public Estates Authority32 involving the execution of an Amended Joint Venture Agreement on the disposition of reclaimed lands without public bidding, the Court held:
x xxBefore the consummation of the contract, PEA must, on its own and without demand from anyone, disclose to the public matters relating to the disposition of its property. These include the size, location, technical description and nature of the property being disposed of, the terms and conditions of the disposition, the parties qualified to bid, the minimum price and similar information. PEA must prepare all these data and disclose them to the public at the start of the disposition process, Consistent with this policy, the EPIRA was enacted to provide for “an orderly and transparent privatization” of NPC’s assets and liabilities.30 Specifically, said law mandated that “[a]ll assets of NPC shall be sold in an open and transparent manner through public bidding.”31
x x x."