OSG charter passage on 2nd reading unsettles opposition solons
The House passage of the proposed new charter of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is an attempt by the Duterte administration to rehabilitate the Marcoses, opposition lawmakers lamented on Wednesday.
Last Tuesday, the lower chamber approved on second reading House Bill 7376, which seeks to strengthen the OSG – the principal law office of the Philippine government.
Section 6 of the bill also abolishes the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), transfering the powers and functions of both agencies to the OSG.
PCGG is tasked with recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
ACT Teacher Rep. Antonio Tinio said the abolition and transfer of the powers of PCGG “fatally undermine(s) the government’s efforts to run after the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and his cronies.”
Tinio also pointed out that the transfer of the recovery of the Marcos’s ill-gotten wealth to the OSG when the current Solicitor General is Jose Calida, was “no coincidence.”
“It’s no coincidence that the recovery of the Marcos ill-gotten wealth to the OSG comes at this point, when the current holder of the title of Solicitor General is Mr. Jose Calida,” Tinio said. “SolGen Calida is a known Marcos loyalist, one of the leaders of the Alyansang Duterte-Bongbong, who personally campaigned for the failed run for Vice President of Sen. Bongbong Marcos.”
“How can recovery efforts prosper when the OSG is led by a professed supporter of one of the principal holders of ill-gotten wealth?” he added.
The lawmaker also urged the public to denounce and oppose the bill, noting that three decades after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship an “estimated US$5 billion of plundered wealth remains stashed away in the hands of the Marcos family and their proxies.”
“Not content with giving a hero’s burial to the dictator Marcos and propping up the political fortunes of the Marcos family, President Duterte and his regime are moving to fatally undermine the government’s efforts to run after the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses,” he said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate also slammed the bill as an “attack against the security of tenure” of the employees of OGCC and PCGG.
Under Section 19 of the bill, affected personnel of PCGG or OGCC who would not be absorbed into the OSG would be given options to avail retirement, or separation or unemployment benefit, as well as other separation incentives. /atm
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