Recovery of ill-gotten wealth to go on after PCGG abolition — Palace

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Recovery of ill-gotten wealth to go on after PCGG abolition â Palace
Students shout slogans during a rally at the Rizal Park, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Thousands of Filipinos, including more than a dozen nude students, protested Friday against the hasty burial of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a heroes' cemetery, in a growing political storm that's lashing the president who allowed the entombment.
AP / Aaron Favila, file

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday insisted that moves in Congress to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the agency tasked to recover ill-gotten wealth stolen during the Marcos regime, is not an attempt to revise history.

The bill — pending at the committee level at the Senate but already approved by the House of Representatives — seeking to abolish the PCGG and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel has earned criticism.

Sen. Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV warned that the abolition of the government body established to go after the ill-gotten wealth of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos' family and cronies will "institutionalize revisionism."

READ: Bill to abolish PCGG, OGCC reaps criticism, opposition

"If the government is determined to fight corruption, why would it abolish the PCGG that runs after the stolen wealth of the Marcos family?" Aquino said.

Palace: Recovery of ill-gotten wealth to continue

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque stressed that the Office of the Solicitor General would still carry out the functions of the PCGG and the OCGG.

The House bill was meant to strengthen the powers of the OSG, the government's top lawyer.

"There is no revisionism there because the work of the PCGG will be continued by the Office of the Solicitor General," Roque said in a press briefing.

Roque added that the PCGG had already finished the "investigation stage" of the Marcos loot and that the government is now on the "trial stage."

"The PCGG has no more function to abandon because the Office of the Solicitor General will continue the work of the PCGG," he said.

The Malacañang spokesman also downplayed Solicitor General Jose Calida's links to the Marcoses.

Calida is a known supporter of the ousted dictator and he was the head of a group that campaigned for former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr's vice presidential bid in 2016.

"I am confident that lawyers of the Office of the Solicitor General are dedicated to their job," Roque said.

House Bill 7376, which seeks to consolidate the powers of the PCGG and the OGCC with the OSG, aims to convert the OSG into an independent and autonomous office attached to the Office of the President for budgetary purposes.

In 1986, President Corazon Aquino formed the PCGG to pursue and recover the ill-gotten wealth amassed during the dictatorship of Marcos. Since its establishment, the agency has recovered at least P170 from the Marcoses and their cronies. Part of the money recovered will be used for reparations to more than 11,000 victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime.





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