Community Whispers by Ray Junia
Community Whispers

Lawmakers move to obliterate PCGG

Aug 30, 2022, 12:05 AM
Ray L. Junia

Ray L. Junia

Publisher

With so many problems—economic and social ills—hounding us now, it seems funny that Congress would waste time strategizing how to kill the Presidential Commission on Good Government, yet again, to please the resident near Pasig River.

Created by freedom icon Corazon C. Aquino after the EDSA Revolution that ousted Marcos Sr., legislators now want to erase all traces of that dark past and stop the PCGG's continued recovery and seizure of ill-gotten wealth of Marcos, his relatives and cronies in business and politics.

There were so many attempts to abolish it in 1998, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2016 and then now by the House of Representatives, where Marcos Jr.’s allies dominate.

Their reason for calling for PCGG’s abolition is that it had outlived its relevance.

Not remiss

But to prove its relevance, PCGG chair John Agbayani said PCGG has not been remiss in collecting ill-gotten wealth from the Marcoses and their business associates/dummies.

Agbayani—an appointee of former President Duterte-- said the agency has recovered P265 billion as of December 2021 and would stand to collect P125 billion more, which could be used for the economy and for the people. He said for 2022 alone, his agency already remitted P850 million to the treasury.

Can the congressman even collect a fraction of that. These legislators make laws to suit themselves, their business alliances and their constituencies. They cannot collect moneys for the government, but they collect fat from the annual budget (out of people’s taxes) for themselves. The more they please their principal, the more certain they get oiled.

Expand, not kill

If the congressmen allied to the administration want PCGG killed, there are some decent men like the former President Duterte, who wanted it expanded.

In 2016, then President Duterte showed interest in expanding the PCGG’s powers to go after the stolen wealth of “other corrupt officials.”

This is the very same line that Marcos Jr. said during the campaign: 

“Instead of directing themselves against the Marcoses only, I mean if I have–kung mayroon akong corrupt na kamag-anak, edi lalabas yung pangalan n’ya. But not only us, lahat.”

Perhaps it is in this context that legislators in the lower house want PCGG abolished, as it might eventually run after them, given this verbal explanation of the President.

Central forfeiture asset office

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier bared plans to expand the mandate of PCGG to become a “central forfeiture asset office,” with the task of going beyond recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family. He said he had discussed it with the president.

“We don’t really want to abolish the PCGG. I have suggested that we create an asset forfeiture office for assets seized by the government for nonpayment of taxes, drug trafficking or for other crimes including graft and corruption,” Remulla said.

Maybe, this is what those legislators fear most.


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