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Justice head opposes PCGG-OGCC abolition

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday objected to the passage by the House of Representatives of a measure seeking to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel to further strengthen the powers of the Office of the Solicitor General.

He said it was his position that the PCGG and OGCC should remain under the administrative supervision of the Department of Justice.

“We respect the action of the HoR [House of Representatives]. But we’ll maintain our position to keep the PCGG and the OGCC under the wings of the DoJ [Department of Justice],” Guevarra said in a text message.

Liberal Party officials have warned that abolishing the PCGG would amount to abolishing the $10-billion plunder of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family and cronies. 

Senator Bam Aquino said abolishing the PCGG could be part of a ploy to revise history about the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

Erin Tañada, the party’s vice president for external affairs, said the CGG’s abolition would allow Solicitor General Jose Calida to reverse the gains made during the PCGG’s lifespan, including the recovery of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, the party’s vice president for internal affairs, said the PCGG was created as a way of rendering justice to the Filipino people.

But Senator Richard Gordon said he didn’t think the PCGG should be abolished.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said there would be difficulties if the PCGG and the OGCC were abolished.

Guevarra said he had not discussed the bill with President Rodrigo Duterte who could stop its passage through a veto.

“It’s still far from being enacted into law. [And there is] No counterpart bill in the Senate,” he said.

The OGCC serves as the principal law office of all government-owned and―controlled corporations, their subsidiaries and other corporate offspring and government-acquired asset corporations, while the OSG is tasked to represent the government and its officers in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and other courts or tribunals in actions where the government or any officer in his official capacity is a party.

The OSG is an attached agency under the Justice department, but it will become a separate agency once the bill is passed into a law.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a measure seeking to abolish the PCGG and OGCC to further strengthen the powers of the Office of the Solicitor General.

Voting 162-10, the House approved House Bill 7376, or the proposed OSG Charter, which seeks to further strengthen the agency by increasing its powers and functions, and redefining, expanding, and rationalizing its organization.

Under the bill, the OGCC and the PCGG will be abolished and their respective powers transferred to the OSG.

Topics: Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra , House of Representatives , Presidential Commission on Good Government , Office of the Government Corporate Counsel
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