OGCC sees House move to abolish agency as ‘anomalous, scandalous’
The Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) said the House passage on final reading of a bill that seeks to abolish the agency as “anomalous and scandalous.”
House Bill 7376 seeks to transfer OGCC’s powers and functions to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).
In a letter to INQUIRER.net, Government Corporate Counsel Rudolf Philip Jurado said the House’ passage of the bill may lead to OSG representing GOCCs in court cases.
“If this becomes a law, who will now represent the GOCCs, including water districts, the OSG? This is a clear case of conflict of interest, highly anomalous and scandalous. With the OGCC gone, GOCCS will be haplessly at the mercy of a lawyer who can abandon their interest anytime,” Jurado said.
Jurado said there are currently 400 active court cases and multi-billion peso arbitration cases where the OGCC and OSG find themselves at the opposing ends.
The official also pointed out that placing OGCC under the OSG was “no longer new,” adding that “this curious anomaly was already tried and tested in before RA 2327 and yet, it failed.”
RA 2327 was enacted to separate OGCC from OSG to “address the clear case of conflict of interest,” according to Jurado.
Jurado noted that in 1951, Executive Order No. 400 was issued merging the OGCC and the OSG. However, after eight years, Congress found this situation anomalous, he said.
“In 1959 or after 8 long years, Congress itself found the situation anomalous in which opposing parties in court are represented by one lawyer – the OSG. Congressmen at that time were even emphatic to call the situation ‘scandalous’ and revolting to the conscience,” he added.
Despite this, Jurado said they hope the Senate would look closely into this issue of conflict of interest and preserve their institutional arrangement by maintaining the OGCC independent from the OSG.
Voting 162-10 without abstention, the lower chamber on Tuesday approved on final 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 OGCC and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) tasked with recovering the ill-gotten wealth of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The bill transfers the agencies’ powers and functions to the OSG.
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