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Bam Aquino sees pro-Marcos revisionism behind bill to abolish PCGG

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 5/16/2018 Bordadora, Norman
Bam Aquino, April 23, 2018 © Senate PRIB/Cesar Tomambo Bam Aquino, April 23, 2018

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said the abolition of  Presidential Commission on Good Government could be a part of a plan to revise history about the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family's ill-gotten wealth.

Aquino made the remark a day after the House of Representatives passed a bill seeking the abolition of the PCGG and having its functions taken on by the Office of the Solicitor General.

The PCGG is mandated to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies.

“This will institutionalize historical revisionism. Pilit na binabago ang kasaysayan sa pagkilos na ito,” Aquino said.

Aquino is the nephew of the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., the leader of the opposition during the Marcos dictatorship. He was assassinated in 1983.

In its 30 years of existence, the PCGG has succeeded in recovering $3.6 billion or P170 billion pesos of the estimated $10 billion of Marcos ill-gotten wealth.

The recovered funds have been used to support the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and reparation of Martial Law victims.

With a vote of 162 in the affirmative, 10 in the negative and zero abstentions, the chamber approved House Bill 7376, which also effectively abolishes the PCGG and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel and transfer its powers to the OSG.

The bill's authors, including principal author Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, said the goal was to "eliminate the overlapping of functions and consolidate the legal services in the government into one."

Aquino said the government should work to strengthen the PCGG if it was serious in eradicating corruption.

Senator Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee , said the panel was now crafting its report on the bills seeking to strengthen the OSG by, among other things, abolishing the PCGG and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).

He said the PCGG shouldn't be abolished.

“We have already completed our hearings. Ginagawa na namin ‘yung committee report e,” he told reporters.

“I don’t think you should abolish it (PCGG), that is my disposition because you need a special team to go after these people  (Marcoses) pero kailangan i-motivate sila na bilisan nila, bigyan mo sila ng timeline para mabilis kasi kung kulang sa abugado nila, hindi nila magagawa talaga iyan,” he added,

He said the PCGG's functions would be diminished if it was placed under the OSG.

“Mawawala ‘yun, that’s the quickest way to forget it,” Gordon said.

He said at present PCGG was able to do its mandate but it needs some boost.

“Sa PCGG nung nagreport sila sa amin, mukhang nagagawa naman kahit papaano pero dapat dagdagan ang sipag para makuha ang mas malaki,” Gordon said.

“Dapat independent ‘yan, kapag in-under mo ‘yan sa OSG, iaabsorb, mawawala lang ‘yan,” he added.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said he opposed the abolition of PCGG but was open to hear the arguments for it.

“I have taken the position that there will be difficulties if we abolish PCGG and OGCC. Unless they can show that the functions of the PCGG can be effectively performed by another agency, we should maintain the PCGG, in my view," Drilon said.

"I’m willing to listen to the debates,” he added. —NB, GMA News

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