Palace: PCGG abolition won’t stop hunt for Marcos wealth-A A +A
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
MALACANANG clarified Wednesday the government’s efforts to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family will continue despite the proposal to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda made the assurance after PCGG Chairperson Andres Bautista announced the commission’s plan to wind up its operations and transfer prosecution of Marcos cases to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Lacierda said this recommendation has not yet been discussed with President Benigno Aquino III.
Bautista’s recommendation was not new and it has long been proposed, he said, citing PCGG’s report that came out on its website in January 2011 entitled “An Introduction to the Conclusion: 100-Day Report on Plan of Action.”
“You can see from this particular report that they have certain suggestions, for instance, legislative abolition of the commission and then transferring the assets to DOF and also to DOJ — at least the ill-gotten wealth cases (are) to be handled by the DOJ,” he said, adding the prosecution of these cases will not die with the abolition of the 26-year-old PCGG.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has expressed readiness to take on the cases being handled by the PCGG if the abolition is approved.
"We'll have to check if need to create a unit for it (Marcos cases)," she told reporters, as she called for an assessment regarding the progress of the forfeiture cases.
Malacanang believed the DOJ is capable of dealing with Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth cases.
“The DOJ certainly, once it is mandated to handle that, they will perform to the utmost best and we expect no less (than that),” said Lacierda.
Legislative records show that a bill abolishing the PCGG has been pending in the House committee on government reorganization since January 2011.
“More than 20 years and four administrations have passed, the PCGG has not produced significant accomplishments that would justify its existence,” House Bill 4049 filed by Representatives Sergio Apostol (Leyte) and Pedro Romualdo (Camiguin) said.
The authors said the work performed by the PCGG is “not commensurate to the annual expenses needed to maintain the office.”
“The time of ripe to abolish PCGG in line with the cost-saving efforts of the government,” the bill stated.
The bill also proposed that the powers and functions of the PCGG shall be transferred to the DOJ.
In a text message to reporters, Liberal Party member and House committee on public information chairman Ben Evardone criticized the move of the PCGG to stop efforts in recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
“The PCGG should not give up just like that because it’s not only the amount of wealth that needs to be recovered, that is important, but also justice to the Filipino people,” he said.
ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio, for his part, said Bautista should resign “since it appears that he does not have the desire and will to pursue the Marcos ill-gotten wealth."
Lacierda, meanwhile, said it is "so sweeping to say" that the PCGG has failed in its mandate.
“I’m sure (for) the 2011 and beyond, they can come up with an updated report on their accomplishments. So I would not want to say it’s a failure,” he said. (Jill Beltran/Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)