PCGG hounds past execs: Return excess pay, allowances or face graft rapsBy Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Ten former government-appointed directors in two sequestered companies risk being haled to court for the excessive pay and allowances they allocated for themselves during their tenure.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) issued demand letters last December to 15 former government nominees in the boards of the Independent Realty Corporation (IRC) and the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Corporation (Baseco).
So far, two of the three IRC directors notified have returned the excessive compensation identified by the PCGG, while three of the notified 12 Baseco directors have written back to express their “willingness” to return the excessive pay.
PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista said they are ready to file cases before the Ombudsman against those they have not heard from.
Bautista, however, did not release the names of the former board directors who got excessive compensation.
“The others have not given their reply but we have reached the ‘pass your papers’ stage. If we do not hear from them shortly, we’ll file charges,” Bautista said in an interview.
Bautista claims the PCGG under the new Aquino administration has turned around losing and mismanaged, surrendered or sequestered companies under its care by canceling onerous contracts and excessive allowances of Palace-appointed executives.
Within the PCGG, the incumbent commissioners also went after excesses by former officials who allegedly used the agency’s contingency funds and collected huge unliquidated cash advances.
Bautista’s immediate predecessor, Camilo Sabio, was charged before the Sandiganbayan in 2011 for misappropriating almost P12 million in PCGG funds.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed a criminal case of graft and malversation against Sabio for failing to remit to the national treasury P10,350,000 collected from the sequestered Mid-Pasig Land Development Corp. from the sale of the A. Soriano Corp. (Anscor) shares in 2006.
The Ombudsman also took Sabio to account for not liquidating P1,555,862 in cash advances he received as PCGG chairman for a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Bautista said Sabio’s trial has been moving. “We believe a decision is forthcoming with respect to this case,” he said.
The IRC and Baseco are among the 50 surrendered and sequestered companies under the care of the PCGG with government-nominee directors.
A company created to deal with real-estate investments, the IRC and its subsidiary corporations were voluntary surrendered by Jose Campos in 1986 after the downfall of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Baseco, a shipbuilding and ship-repair corporation once identified with Marcos’ brother-in-law Alfredo “Bejo” Romualdez, is currently engaged in the lease of prime properties in Manila and in Mariveles, Bataan.
The PCGG reported that the corporations under its care are now operating in the black after years of operating at a loss.
“When the present commission took charge, some of these corporations were either operating at a loss or were grossly mismanaged, having been peopled by appointees who lacked the managerial wherewithal, much less the dedication to look out for the interest of the Republic,” the PCGG said in its June 2012 report.
The PCGG was created shortly after the 1986 People Power revolution to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator Marcos, his family and cronies.
It was also mandated to preserve the sequestered or surrendered companies believed to be owned or beneficially owned by the Marcoses and their cronies until there was a final court judgment on their ownership.
Since 1986 the PCGG reported having turned over to the national treasury P164 billion in recovered ill-gotten Marcos assets. All recovered assets by the PCGG will go to agrarian reform projects.