Re­tain PCGG, OGCC...

Manila Bulletin - - News -

“We re­spect the ac­tion of the HOR,” the sec­re­tary said in a text mes­sage.

“But we’ll main­tain our po­si­tion to keep PCGG and the OGCC un­der the wings of the DOJ (De­part­ment of Jus­tice),” said Gue­varra.

The OSG is also un­der the DOJ but will be­come a sep­a­rate agency once the bill be­comes law.

Gue­varra ad­mit­ted that he has not dis­cussed the bill with Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte who could stop the mea­sure through a veto.

“Malayo pa na­man yan (It’s still not an im­me­di­ate is­sue). No coun­ter­part bill in the Se­nate,” he pointed out.

Sev­eral se­na­tors have al­ready ex­pressed their op­po­si­tion against the bill.

The Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Jus­tice, chaired by Sen. Richard Gor­don, like­wise do not fa­vor the trans­fer of the pow­ers of the PCGG to the OSG say­ing such a trans­fer “is the quick­est way to for­get” the re­cov­ery of the al­leged bil­lions of pe­sos of ill-got­ten wealth of the Marcos fam­ily.

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Franklin Drilon is like­wise op­posed to the move say­ing PCGG re­mains an im­por­tant agency and thus should be main­tained and strength­ened.

“I op­pose it. I am tak­ing into po­si­tion that there will be dif­fi­cul­ties if we abol­ish the PCGG and the Of­fice of the Gov­ern­ment Cor­po­rate Coun­cil,” Drilon said.

Sen. Paolo Aquino IV, for his part said if the Duterte gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ous in eradicating cor­rup­tion, it should work to strengthen the PCGG rather than abol­ish it.

Armed prose­cu­tors

Mean­while, Gue­varra wel­comed the idea of arm­ing state prose­cu­tors to bet­ter pro­tect them­selves from threats fol­low­ing the death of Que­zon City Deputy City Pros­e­cu­tor Ro­ge­lio Ve­lasco.

Ve­lasco is the fifth pros­e­cu­tor to be killed un­der the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I will sup­port prose­cu­tors get­ting firearm for self-de­fense,” Gue­varra said in a state­ment.

For­mer In­te­grated Bar of the Philip­pines (IBP) com­mis­sioner now 1-Ang Edukasyon party-list Rep. Sal­vador Be­laro Jr. urged the DOJ to pro­vide state prose­cu­tors with bul­let-proof vests and other pro­tec­tive de­vices fol­low­ing Ve­lasco’s death.

“I wish we had a bud­get for body ar­mor,” Gue­varra lamented.

“For now we can only wear the breast­plate of right­eous­ness and the full ar­mor of God,” said Gue­varra.

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