Abella: Plan to abolish PCGG has nothing to do with politics

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 28) — The plan to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) has nothing to do with politics, and is only a matter of "streamlining," according to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

In a press briefing Thursday, Abella said the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) can handle cases of ill-gotten wealth, the main function of PCGG, despite having its hands full with pending cases.

"(The OSG) actually handles the cases filed to run after the Marcos ill-gotten wealth, while the PCGG actually handles the administrative function. So based on their proposal, the OSG can also handle the administrative functions as well," Abella said.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, during a Wednesday conference explaining the proposed 2018 national budget, said the PCGG "has no justification," and added some government agencies are "duplicated" and "no longer relevant." About 10,000 to 20,000 government employees may be impacted due to the planned streamlining of functions.

READ: Gov't reorganization could hit up to 20,000 workers, abolish PCGG

However, the PCGG said in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon it was "surprised" at questions regarding its performance and relevance.

"Aside from the fact that it was awarded as the best DOJ performing agency for three straight years, what other government agency can effectively raise non-tax revenues," it said, referring to a cost to recovery ratio from 2012 to 2016.

President Rodrigo Duterte supported the initiative to downsize the government in his State of the Nation Address on Monday.

He urged Congress to pass the Right-Sizing Act immediately, and the Budget chief said the bill could be signed into law before the yearend. The reorganization could begin by 2018.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong, Claire Jiao, and Yvette Morales contributed to this report.