February 25, 2018, 7:31 am
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House panels okay bills abolishing PCGG, OGCC

THE House committee on justice yesterday approved the bill seeking to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), and transferring their powers to a stronger Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

Before resuming the impeachment hearing against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the committee approved the consolidated bill sponsored by Rep. Vicente Veloso (PDP-Laban, Leyte), who chairs the subcommittee on judicial reforms under the justice panel.

One of the many bills filed for such purpose, House Bill 5233 was authored by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and justice panel chair Rep. Reynaldo Umali (PDP-Laban, Oriental Mindoro).

Veloso said the measure will create a special task force of at least five divisions to continue the PCGG functions.

The measure guarantees the absorption of PCGG and OGCC officials and employees on condition that they have the needed eligibility and qualifications for the available OSG positions.

“The consolidation of the legal services in the OSG will specifically promote the wiser and more prudent use of public funds since this will do away with the practice of the OGCC of billing client GOCCs for legal services rendered,” Alvarez said.

He said the amendment “is necessary to make the OSG a truly independent and autonomous office.”

“Attaching the OSG to the OP would be a recognition of the OSG’s distinct function and position in the executive branch,” he said.

The PCGG’s functions of going after the ill-gotten wealth of former president Ferdinand Marcos will be performed by a “special task force” within the OSG, which will be composed of at least five of its 50 legal divisions.

The bill provides that each division will be composed of at least 10 lawyers to be led by an assistant solicitor-general.

The special task force is tasked to file and prosecute PCGG cases, continue handling cases for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth and behest loans, grant immunity to state witnesses, and call upon any government agency for assistance.
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