HOUSE BILL ABOLISHING PCGG HURDLES SECOND READING
The abolishment of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) is one step away in the House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, the lower house passed on second reading House Bill 7376 which seeks to transfer the powers and mandate of the PCGG as well as the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).
The proposed law, which was principally sponsored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, aims to strengthen and streamline the OSG by increasing its powers and functions.
The PCGG is a quasi-judicial agency created by former President Corazon Aquino by virtue of Executive Order Number 1 in February 28, 1986 tasked to recover the estimated $10 billion of alleged ill-gotten wealth of former president Ferdinand Marcos, his family and his cronies.
According to the PCGG, a total of P170 billion of the Marcoses alleged ill-gotten wealth has been recovered as of 2016 which include the family's and their dummies' sequestered properties and companies, bank accounts, artworks and jewelry.
However, some lawmakers questioned the abolishment of the agency.
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio said, the move will rehabilitate the Marcoses to take another giant leap forward. He questioned how the recovery efforts would prosper under the OSG, citing that Solicitor General Jose Calida is a known Marcos loyalist and one of the leaders of the Alyansang Duterte-Bongbong who campaigned for the 2016 vice-presidential run of former senator Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos, Jr.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate stressed the transfer of PCGG powers to the OSG would not speed up the recovery as the OSG was handling 730,000 cases with 374,424 of which were active cases.
In January, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also echoed the concern, saying that the government and Congress should take a second look at the proposals to abolish the PCGG and OGCC.
The House is expected to do a nominal vote on the bill once the Congress resumes session on May 14.