The House of Representatives, voting 162-10, abolished on Tuesday the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the government agency tasked to recover the estimated $10 billion ill-gotten wealth of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his family.
The House approved on third and final reading HB 7376, which abolishes the PCGG and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel and transfers all its authorities and responsibilities to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) headed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Under House Bill 7376, Calida, in his capacity as Solicitor General, can grant immunity from criminal prosecution to any person who provides information or testifies in any investigation previously conducted by the PCGG or future cases investigated by the OSG involving ill gotten wealth, to establish the unlawful manner in which any respondent, defendant or accused has acquired or accumulated the property or properties in question in any case where such information or testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove the latter’s guilt or his civil liability.
The few lawmakers who opposed the measure warned that Calida’s strong ties with the Marcoses would compromise government efforts in going after the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.
“This bill is part of the Duterte administration’s rehabilitation of the Marcoses’ identity which began with the granting of hero’s burial for Marcos and President Rodrigo Duterte’s support for the Vice Presidential bid of Bongbong Marcos,” Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna party-list said.
Calida, in his capacity as Solicitor General, defended the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to give Marcos a hero’s burial. The former leader was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in November 2016.