Press Release
December 14, 2010


The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) can handle the job of the Philippine Truth Commission to investigate and prosecute former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on corruption charges, Senator Franklin Drilon said, following the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the truth body as unconstitutional.

Drilon, a former justice secretary, said the High Court had also ruled in a number of cases in favor of the PCGG and confirmed the extent of the commission's power to conduct investigation on graft and corruption cases unrelated to the Marcos administration.

"The PCGG Charter (composed of Executive Order Nos. 1, 2 and 14) does not violate equal protection clause... To justify nullification of a law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution... considering that a reasonable or classification exists wherein persons similarly situated are charged and accorded due process..." Drilon said, citing the 1991 case of Cesar Virata vs. Sandiganbayan.

Drilon also upheld the memorandum of former appellate court justice Magdangal Elma, presidential assistant for special concerns, saying that President Benigno Aquino III has the power to direct the PCGG to look into graft and corruption cases that rocked the Arroyo administration, as provided under Executive Order (EO) No. 1 that created the commission in 1986.

While EO 1 of 1986 issued by President Corazon Aquino created the PCGG to recover ill-gotten wealth accumulated by President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, Section 2 (b) of the said executive issuance states that the commission can investigate "such cases of graft and corruption as the President may assign to the commission from time to time," Drilon said.

"It must be underscored that the PCGG's power is not limited to ill-gotten wealth cases in connection with President Marcos' administration. More explicitly, the PCGG can investigate other graft and corruption cases if the President assigns the PCGG to do so as clearly provided in Section 2 (b) of EO 1," the senator said.

Under Section 1 of EO 14 series of 1986, the PCGG, with the assistance of the Solicitor General and other government agencies, is empowered to file and prosecute all cases investigated by it under EO 1 as may be warranted by its findings, Drilon said.

Drilon cited that in the case of the Republic of the Philippines as represented by PCGG vs. Sandiganbayan, Maria Remedios Argana, et al. in 1994, the SC ruled that "the power of the PCGG to conduct preliminary investigation of cases of this nature does not extend only to cases brought to recover ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Marcos or his close associates but includes as well cases of graft and corruption assigned by the President to the PCGG for investigation."

"The jurisdiction of the PCGG, therefore, derived from Paragraph (b) of Section 2... does not require as an element that the accused took advantage of his close association with President Marcos in committing graft and corruption... The PCGG had jurisdiction to conduct the investigation because this is a case of graft and corruption assigned to it by the President of the Philippines pursuant to Section 2 (b) of EO 1," the SC had ruled.

In RP vs. Sandiganbayan et al. case in 2003, the High Court said that "other violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act not otherwise falling under the foregoing categories, require a previous authority of the President for the respondent PCGG to investigate and prosecute..."

Drilon said: "The President can direct the PCGG anytime to conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption involving third level public officers and higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the Arroyo administration."

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