Roque on House move to abolish PCGG: No historical revisionism

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — Malacañang on Thursday said there would be no historical revisionism if the Philippine Commission of Good Government (PCGG) is abolished, after the House of Representatives approved a bill dissolving it.

"Wala pong revisionism diyan, dahil ang katungkulan ng PCGG ipagpapatuloy po ng Office of the Solicitor General," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing Thursday.

[Translation: There is no revisionism there because the responsibility of the PCGG will be continued by the Office of the Solicitor General]

This is in response to Senator Bam Aquino's statement denouncing the move of the lower chamber.

"This will institutionalize historical revisionism. Pilit na binabago ang kasaysayan sa pagkilos na ito. [This will forcibly change history]," Aquino said.

The House of Representatives moved to abolish the PCGG on Tuesday, approving House Bill 7376 or the "Act Strengthening the Office of the Solicitor General."

The Senate has yet to vote on the measure.

The PCGG, created by former President Corazon Aquino, is tasked to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, his family, and his associates.

Since 1986, the PCGG has recovered about $3.6 billion (around P170 billion) of the estimated $10 billion of the Marcos ill-gotten wealth. The recovered funds have been used to support the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and reparation of martial law victims.

The HB 7376, however, allows the Solicitor General to grant immunity from criminal prosecution any person who will provide information or who testifies in any investigation conducted by the PCGG or future cases investigated by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) involving ill-gotten wealth.

Roque, a former representative, said he was among the "major authors" of the bill then. He said the agency was already necessary as the OSG can carry out its responsibilities.

"Hindi naman po sa inefficient, pero parang hindi na siya kinakailangan maging ibang ahensiya dahil nagawa na ang kabuuan ng katungkulan ng PCGG at  kumbaga winding up, at kaya na 'yan ng Office of the Solicitor General," he said.

[Translation: It isn't because they were inefficient, but it seems they do not need to be an independent agency because all their responsibilities were completed and winding up, the Office of the Solicitor General can handle it]

The measure to absorb the PCGG into the OSG, however, raised concerns of conflict of interest as Solicitor General Jose Calida is a known Marcos supporter, even actively campaigning for the vice presidency of former Senator Bongbong Marcos during the 2016 national elections.

In response, Roque vouched the OSG will exercise "utmost professionalism."

"Panatag ang loob ko na dedicated ang mga napakadaming abogado sa Office of the Solicitor General to do their job," he said.

[Translation: I have confidence that the many lawyers in the Office of the Solicitor General will be dedicated to do their job]