MANILA, Philippines—There’s no reason for the Presidential Commission on Good Government to stop going after Marcos’ alleged ill-gotten wealth unless it’s admitting it could no longer prove a claim against the late dictator’s estate, Sen. Francis Escudero told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Wednesday.
Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said the PCGG’s difficulties were lame excuses to wrap up its mandate after 26 years of going after the supposed multibillion-dollar loot of the Marcoses and their cronies.
“That it is difficult should not be an excuse if there is indeed a cause of action. Nobody ever said that it was going to be easy,” Escudero told the Inquirer.
“That’s a lame excuse unless they are throwing in the towel and saying that they can’t prove the case versus the Marcoses anymore,” he added.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, an ally of President Aquino’s, agreed with PCGG chairman Andres Bautista’s recommendation to the Chief Executive that the commission start winding down its operations since going after the Marcos wealth has ceased to be cost-effective.
Bautista also cited the return to power of former First Lady Imelda Marcos as Ilocos Norte representative, and Marcos’ children Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., as senator and Imee Marcos as Ilocos Norte governor as a factor that doesn’t make the PCGG’s job easier.
“It has been more than 26 years. Had the PCGG performed its mandate efficiently at the first instance, they could have gotten most if not all of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies,” Lacson said.
“As in any ‘catch-me-if-you-can’ situation, the longer you take to get your target, the lesser the opportunity becomes as the quarry manages to dig deeper,” added the two-term senator, who also served at one time as chief of the PNP.
Should Aquino heed Bautista’s recommendation, he would need the Congress to pass a law abolishing the agency.
Bautista has suggested that the Department of Justice take over from where the PCGG would leave.