ML survivors see ‘game plan’ in new calls to shut PCGG | Inquirer News

ML survivors see ‘game plan’ in new calls to shut PCGG

/ 05:32 AM August 26, 2022

marcos estate

Martial law survivors and human rights advocates rallied behind the beleaguered Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on Thursday, saying no other agency could perform its role of pursuing the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family and their cronies, even with another Marcos back in power.

Alarmed by moves to abolish the commission, the groups plan to consult with lawyers to “prevent this latest scheme to whitewash the sins of the Marcos dictatorship,” playwright and activist Bonifacio Ilagan told the Inquirer on Thursday.


“The abolition of the PCGG follows the statement ‘move on,’ and what they usually mean by that is ‘just forget about it,’” said Ilagan, who survived torture during the brutal dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s father.


“But for those who suffered under martial law, moving on also means obtaining justice… [which] means recovery of what was stolen from them and putting the thieves behind bars,” he said.

READ: PCGG paradox: Agency battles abolition calls

Ilagan was reacting to comments by Marcos’ congressional allies who had revived talk of abolishing the agency created by the Cory Aquino administration.

At a House briefing on Wednesday, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. argued that the PCGG had “outlived its usefulness” after 36 years.

Both lawmakers suggested that other agencies like the Office of the Ombudsman could already do the PCGG’s job.

‘Wrong signal’

For lawyer Edre Olalia, the renewed push to abolish the PCGG can only be interpreted as “playing, apparently wittingly, in (the Marcoses’) game plan of rehabilitating and repackaging themselves while insulating themselves from accountability.”


Cristina Palabay of the human rights watchdog Karapatan said that without a clear provision in the Ombudsman’s mandate about Marcos wealth recovery, and without political will, “any proposal to that effect may only be designed to flip the narratives and facts on the plunder and absolve them of their crimes.”

READ: Expand functions of PCGG? Right now, there’s no policy, says Palace

In the past, Palabay said, even martial law survivors had been critical of the PCGG’s “inefficiency and lackadaisical manner.”

But shutting down the agency for good, with around P125 billion more to be recovered, would “send the wrong signal that anyone in government can take public funds for personal ends with impunity,” she said.

Never respected PCGG

Ruben Carranza, a PCGG commissioner from 2001 to 2004, said the Marcoses had “never respected the PCGG” and only “tried to undermine the commission every step of the way, including all the way to the Supreme Court.”

In an interview on ANC, Carranza said that if Congress really cared about solving the cases against the Marcos family, it should ensure the PCGG’s independence instead of abolishing the agency.

READ: Ex-PCGG exec recalls Marcos Jr.’s role in ill-gotten wealth cases

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“They should… make sure the PCGG is funded, make sure that the commissioner and chairperson of the PCGG are completely independent of the Marcos family and are competent in doing what the PCGG has to do,” he said, adding:

“If there’s corruption in the police force in going after ordinary criminals, I’m certain there is even worse corruption in going after the most corrupt family in Philippine history.”

TAGS: Marcos, Martial law, PCGG, rights

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.