Sen. Chiz Escudero is seeking a full accounting and inventory of all the assets recovered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) since it was created to run after the illegally-amassed wealth of the Marcoses and their allies, before the administration moves to abolish it.
Malacañang has announced that it would transfer the remaining functions of the PCGG to the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the proposed right-sizing bill, one of the legislation President Duterte wanted Congress to prioritize.
Before any talks on PCGG’s abolition commence, Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, wanted the agency to come up with a detailed report on the value of each asset it has recovered at the time of its sequestration, as well as its present value.
The senator said a mere cursory observation of some of the well-known sequestered assets of the PCGG like paintings, jewelry, buildings and shares of stocks would show their undue depreciation and absence or lack of due diligence in its care and preservation, not to mention the losses that were reported, too.
“It would be too much to bear to find out that recovered assets pilloried from the state are squandered the same by the agency tasked to run after it,” Escudero said.
“We want to see accountability, as with any other government institutions,” he added.
Under the right-sizing proposal, executive agencies with overlapping or redundant operations and functions that result in ineffective and inefficient delivery of public service would be abolished.
The PCGG decried in a statement the plan to abolish their agency, saying they had effectively raised non-tax revenues. It claimed to have recovered at least P170 billion in cash over the course of 30 years with an overall budget of P2.9 billion for the same period.
In its 2016 report, the Commission on Audit has called out the PCGG for the six paintings reported missing since in 2012. The state auditor also said in the same report that most of the artworks recovered have been damaged and in state of deterioration.
“These reports are yet unanswered. If there is failure to protect and preserve sequestered assets, then abolition this time may lead to the unintended consequence of hiding misdeeds committed by the agency in the past,” Escudero said.