In a House of Representatives hearing on Wednesday (August 24), lawmakers were urged that, instead of abolishing the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG), it should be strengthened to “complement the Ombudsman or the DOJ in respect to graft and corruption cases.”
John Agbayani, PCGG’s chairman, told the House Committee on Justice that the good governance commission was contributing P600 million to the country every year, with P850 million added to the nation’s coffers in 2022 alone.
“It is an agency which has been a consistent revenue contributor,” Agbayani said.
But Cagayan de Oro Second District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, citing the government’s plans of “rightsizing” the bureaucracy, said that other agencies may just take on the PCGG’s function, like the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice.
Rodriguez also mentioned that the Office of the Solicitor General already has 87 cases pending before the court, which included civil and criminal cases against the Marcoses.
The combined worth of these cases amounts to P125 billion.
“If in 36 years it has not yet finished, it has failed. How can it be continuing 36 years down the line?” Rodriguez asked.
However, instead of abolishing, DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla suggested to expand PCGG’s mandate to include the recovery of ill-gotten wealth, non-payment of taxes, drug trafficking, and graft and corruption of other officials as well.
When asked whether he thinks that the PCGG’s work will be affected with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the head of the government, Agbayani said that he doesn’t believe that Marcos will interfere in the judicial process.
“For final judgments, there’s nothing they can do. Those are final. For assets that have been finally recovered, there’s nothing they can do either, because these are all in the name of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
“For pending cases, we just expect that the President will just recognize the doctrine of separation of powers in the government, and he will not waste away the trust and confidence bestowed on him by 30 million voters by doing something which is offensive to morals and good conduct,” Agbayani added.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.
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