House Speaker trusts Solicitor-General to be impartial on Marcos wealth

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 7) — House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez trusts the government's lawyer will be impartial in handling cases surrounding the Marcos family's ill-gotten wealth.

Alvarez was responding to concern that Solicitor General Jose Calida's previous endorsement of former Senator Bongbong Marcos could affect how he deals with the issue, which the House of Representatives assigned to his office in a new bill.

"Kung sumuporta siya sa panahon ng election kay Senator Bongbong Marcos, ibig sabihin loyalist na siya? Hindi, I don't think so," Alvarez told CNN Philippines' The Source.

(Translation: If he supported Senator Bongbong Marcos during the election, does that mean he's a loyalist? No, I don't think so.)

The House Justice Committee is forwarding a proposal that assigns the functions of the Presidential Commission of Good Government (PCGG) to the Office of the Solicitor General. The PCGG is tasked with recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his family.

Related: House panel approves bill abolishing PCGG

The move was prompted by dissatisfaction with the performance of the agency, said Alvarez. He authored House Bill 5233, one of the initial proposals for PCGG abolition.

The House Speaker added that Calida did not make any recent pronouncements regarding the Marcoses, and was only focused on his work. He went on to vouch for Calida's character.

"Kaibigan ko iyon at kilala ko si SolGen Calida. Maayos na tao iyan," said Alvarez.

"Huwag kayo mag-alala. I think safe 'yung bansa kay SolGen Calida," he added in a separate interview.

(Translation: SolGen Calida is my friend and I know him. He's a good person... Don't worry. The country is safe with SolGen Calida.)


The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) was formed 31 years ago, under former President Corazon Aquino's Executive Order No. 1, following the fall of the Marcos regime in February 1986.

The Marcos's ill-gotten wealth is at an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion, according to a study by the World Bank and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative. As of 2015, the PCGG has recovered about $3 billion or P170 billion of this.

Related: Martial law victims push for faster recovery of Marcos wealth, including missing paintings

In October, former Senator Bongbong Marcos offered to hand over the wealth if it is found. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said the Marcoses would return some of the wealth through a settlement.

Alvarez has said that there should be no conditions for the recovery of this weath. He also said that the family should not be given immunity from criminal charges.