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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

‘Remulla must raise PCGG shift with President’

It will be up to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla to raise to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. his proposal to expand the mandate of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), Malacañang said on Friday.

“Since it is Secretary Remulla who has made the proposal, we’ll have to wait for him to bring it up,” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a Palace briefing.

On Thursday, Remulla proposed to expand the PCGG’s functions beyondb recovering the supposed ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies.

The justice chief’s proposal aims to cover the seizure of smuggled shipments and confiscation of properties and assets for non-payment of taxes, drug trafficking, graft and corruption, and other crimes.

The PCGG was created in 1986 to recover the Marcoses’ and their cronies’ alleged ill-gotten wealth. It has so far recovered P171 billion.

Asked if Remulla’s suggestion will be adopted by the Marcos administration, Cruz-Angeles said: “Right now, there is no policy.”

Some have raised concerns over Remulla’s proposed expansion, saying this will dilute the PCGG’s mandate.
Sought for a reaction, Cruz-Angeles said: “We don’t respond to speculation.”

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Friday urged the public, including the media, to monitor the actions of the PCGG after Remulla expressed his intention to expand its mandate.

“We have to look at the actions of the PCGG because, of course… on paper, you can be given all the powers on paper. But then you are told to sleep, all will be for naught,” he said in an ANC interview.

“We’ll look into it, and we will need probably the help of the media to also cover the PCGG and report on what its plans are, what actions they are taking, or have they been inactive? So, we need the help of the media to supervise the new energized expanded PCGG on paper,” he added.

“For as long as there is still from investigation of the original PCGG up to the current PCGG, from their investigation, there are still ill-gotten wealth out there, they should pursue it. That is their mandate,” he added.

In an ambush interview Thursday, Remulla said the government does not plan to abolish the PCGG, but he has suggested creating an asset forfeiture office for the assets seized by the government for non-payment of taxes, drug trafficking, or other crimes.

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