Agency tasked to recover Marcos ill-gotten wealth questioned for relevance, deteriorating artwork

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By William Casis | FilAm Star Correspondent

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said he is open to reviewing the reason for the continuous existence of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

“It has been there with a single objective, which at this time, has already been achieved,” said Pimentel.

Malacañang announced that it would transfer the remaining functions of the PCGG to the Department of Justice under the proposed right-sizing bill, one of the legislation President Duterte wanted Congress to prioritize.

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 PHP 170 billion in cash over the course of 30 years with an overall budget of PHP 2.9 billion for the same period.

Sen. Chiz Escudero is seeking a full accounting and inventory of all the assets recovered by the PCGG since it was created to recover the illegally amassed wealth of the Marcoses and their allies, before the administration moves to abolish it.

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.

Escudero 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 is squandered the same agency tasked to recover it,” he said.

“We want to see accountability, as with any other government institutions,” he added.

In its 2016 report, the Commission on Audit has called out the PCGG for the six paintings reported missing since 2012. The state auditor also said in the same report that most of the artworks recovered have been damaged and in states 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.

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