Rody wants PCGG powers expanded

Giovanni Nilles - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte wants to give more authority to the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), a body originally tasked to go after the hidden wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies.

Speaking at the Davao International Airport upon arrival from Peru Wednesday night, Duterte said he wanted the anti-corruption body broadened in scope and given more powers.

The PCGG reported having recovered, as of 2015, more than P170 billion in ill-gotten wealth from the Marcoses and their cronies since it started working in 1986.

Meanwhile, Duterte lashed out at the officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) who have continued to defy his call to resign after the suicide of one of the agency’s directors allegedly due to pressures from higher-ups to rig bids.

“If they (ERC executives) won’t resign, I will conduct my own audit and I will be filing cases against all of them in court. I will see to it that they will be (charged),” Duterte said partly in Filipino.

If the cases qualify for plunder charges, the President said he would make sure the officers go to jail without bail.

Plunder, as a capital offense in the country, is non-bailable. 

“Ayaw ninyo kayong mga corrupt? Sige, pag nahawakan ko ‘yang mga dokumento, papaano (You corrupt, you don’t want to resign? If I get hold of the documents, then what)? How can the people be comfortable with you?” Duterte asked.

“That’s why you are called quasi; that’s why you have fixed terms; because you are to hear cases about the increase of electricity and all; and here you are wallowing in corruption,” he added.

He also took the ERC executives to task for hiring consultants.

“What are the consultants for? Where’s your brain? You’ve been placed there because you could think. You’re just wasting money – I will review all government corporations,” an angry Duterte said mostly in Filipino.

He promised to limit the ability of government executives to hire consultants and re-channel consultant fees to military concerns, like buying rifles.

“So, what can the people expect from you, idiots? How can you protect public interest? I know that you must be neutral, but public interest is paramount. This is why prices are rising. People could no longer pay their electricity and water bills because you are there,” he added.

Earlier, ERC officials said they would not resign “to protect the agency.”

Duterte is also considering asking Congress to abolish the ERC.

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