Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday said that there is no need to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government, an agency created during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, tasked to run after the so-called ill-gotten of the family of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Remulla made the statement even as he expressed that the government does not have to run after the Marcoses in the future.
“We don’t really want to abolish PCGG and I have suggested that we create an asset forfeiture office for those whose assets are seized by the government for nonpayment of taxes, for drug trafficking, or for other crimes,” he said.
“We should have a central office where all the assets are deposited so that these can be properly accounted for,” the Justice chief added.
Remulla noted that there is no such office and that “there’s still confusion within the system as to where” the assets seized will be placed.
“I don’t think we need to spend the next 100 years running after the Marcoses,” Remulla said during yesterday’s Rotary Club of Manila meeting where he discussed the functions of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, an agency attached to the Department of Justice.
The PCGG is “an office created by law and, by history, to run after the family of our President,” he said.
“But after 36 years, things are beginning to simmer down. Most of the sequestered assets are already up there in the Department of Finance,” he noted.
Recently, the Sandiganbayan sustained its 2019 decision that dismissed the P200-billion forfeiture case against the Marcoses.
“So, we have to have a central body so that we know how much we really get from the proceeds of crimes that we are forfeiting in favor of the government and of the people,” he said.
“My team has been looking into this matter,” the DOJ boss added.
Remulla said he is proposing to expand the powers of the PCGG, apart from recovering the assets of the family of President Marcos, to smuggled shipments seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Under this proposal, the PCGG would work hand-in-hand with agencies such as the BOC to ensure that the bidding and auction of seized goods were not rigged or there was no fraud.
It is suspected that at the BOC some of the items auctioned off still end up in the possession of smugglers, after paying lower taxes.
To avoid such suspicion, the Justice Secretary offered the solution “might as well have the government do it in another office where they (smugglers) cannot penetrate. I suggested it to the President.”
He added that the PCGG could also be utilized for drug cases and when a person’s properties are seized in favor of the government.
“We do not have a disposition body on that matter, so we have to have a central body so that we would know how much is the country really getting from the proceeds of crimes, from what we are forfeiting in favor of the government and of the people,” he said.