DOJ for total revamp, not abolition, of PCGG

July 23, 2010 10:43 pm 

MANILA, July 23 — Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said on Friday she will recommend to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III a total revamp in the composition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), but not the agency’s abolition.

“We need a new approach… conscious of the timeline… we need new faces… a group that will have a sense of urgency to resolve pending issues confronting the office,” De Lima said at a press briefing in Malacañang.

De Lima said the PCGG, a collegial commission with quasi-judicial authority and full sequestration powers, has not fully accomplished its mandate since it was created in February 1986 by President Corazon C. Aquino.

The commission was tasked to focus on the criminal prosecution, as well as on the recovery of the alleged ill-gotten wealth, of the the late President Ferdinand Marcos, his family, and cronies.

De Lima said the move to revamp the PCGG will be among the many reform initiatives expected from the Department of Justice, as it strives to weed out corruption and regain the trust and confidence of the people.

De Lima also said she is still studying moves on whether or not to reconstitute two task forces — Task Force Anti-Smuggling and Task Force Anti-Tax Evasion — to provide support to the campaigns of the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue against smuggling and tax dodging, respectively.

“I’m still evaluating their performances, as it is important to have a committed task force to speed up the progress of cases filed,” she said.

However, she said another task force, Anti-Human Trafficking, will stay and has now been reconstituted under the leadership of Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar.

Topping the agenda of Task Force Anti-Human Trafficking are the cases against 18 Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) personnel allegedly involved in the trafficking of Filipinos abroad.

De Lima also said she will review the purported “midnight rulings” of her predecessor, which included a controversial poaching case against Chinese nationals caught in Palawan and the gruesome Ruby Rose Barrameda murder case.

De Lima also said that she has yet to recommend to the President on who will be the replacement of resigned Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan.

“I have to be very careful in endorsing various posts,” she said, adding that the Immigration Bureau plays a very important role in curbing human trafficking. (PNA)

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