Press Release
September 14, 2022

Hontiveros: PCGG abolition 'self-destruction' of gov't anti-corruption efforts

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday denounced initiatives to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), calling the move 'self-destruction'.

"There has been no greater thievery in the history of the Philippines than the ill-gotten Martial Law wealth. The PCGG has steadily recovered billions of pesos of stolen Filipino money, and abolishing it will greatly diminish our ability to continue to do so. Collapsing what has been an effective retrieval body is only self-destruction. The move will be two steps back in any and all of the government's anti-corruption efforts, she said.

"PCGG remains equally relevant today as it was at its conception. It stands to recover trillions more. Leave the PCGG alone, and let them do their job as they have for the past 36 years. Our duty in government is to fully support their mandate," she added.

The PCGG has retrieved P174.2 billion in ill-gotten Marcos wealth, roughly P5 billion a year on average since its creation in 1986. According to the late former Senate President Jovito Salonga, the PCGG must search for an estimated total of $10B or P570B*. Former Secretary of Finance Dr. Jesus Estanislao estimated that the value is closer to $30B, equivalent to P1.71 trillion in today's exchange rate, which is 34% of the national budget.

Hontiveros added that the yearly budget allocated to the PCGG, approximately P150 million in 2021, is 'minute' compared to how much the body has been able to recover. "This proves that this is a practical investment for the Filipino people," she said.

"It is within the Philippines' best interests to aggressively retrieve the stolen wealth and return these to government programs that remain underfunded. Essential programs like universal healthcare and anti-poverty initiatives are in dire need of funding for execution," she said.

The senator said that although lawmakers are moving to only collapse the PCGG's function under the DOJ, it will "shrink further government's powers to carry-out the recovery effectively."

"Kung nahihirapan na nga ang PCGG on its own, what more kung naka-lista lamang ito sa mga napakaraming responsibilidad ng DOJ. The amount is so massive it is worthy of a separate entity that is able to focus all efforts towards this purpose. The PCGG makes sense. Government is beholden to retrieve every centavo and to fight back against any attempts to minimize the outrageous theft of trillions stolen from us, our parents, and our grandparents, during the former dictatorship, President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. 's presidency," the senator concluded.

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