Despite support for Marcoses, Calida says he can go after hidden wealth
Solicitor General Jose Calida, who defended in the Supreme Court the burial of the late tyrant Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, belittled the criticisms against a bill that would give him the task of going after the Marcos family’s stolen wealth.
Speaking to reporters, Calida defended the bill filed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez seeking to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which was created to go after the billions of pesos in ill-gotten riches of the Marcoses, and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).
Alvarez, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s staunchest political allies, wanted to place the functions of the two state agencies under the Office of the Solicitor General to “enhance government efforts to recover ill-gotten wealth and investigate and prosecute cases related thereto.”
He stressed that his support for former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who lost in the vice presidential race in the May 2016 elections, would not hinder him in carrying out his responsibility as a public official.
“I am now a government official,” Calida said “The previous elections have no more bearing on my duty as a government official. So it doesn’t matter to me,”
Calida made the statement on Tuesday in an interview with reporters after he appeared in the Supreme Court for the oral arguments on detained Sen. Leila de Lima’s petition regarding a drug case filed against her.
“That is the prerogative of the Congress,” he added. “They enact the laws. On our part, we will implement that law if it is passed.”
Alvarez’s bill did not sit well with martial law victims and some lawmakers, among them Sen. Risa Hontiveros, an opposition lawmaker, who described the move as “a sick and cruel joke.”
“How can a Marcos defender recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses?” Hontiveros said, “It’s like letting a fox into the chicken house. That’s the essence of the government’s move to put him in charge of recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family.”
Hontiveros added that Calida had also come to the defense of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged brains of the P10-billion pork barrel scam. /atm
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