With PCGG’s help, Duterte-Marcos talks on ill-gotten wealth recovery can proceed sans Congress’ nod – Lagman

September 5, 2017 - 11:31 AM
Edcel Lagman
Philstar file photo of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman

MANILA, Philippines –- The negotiations for the recovery of the Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth can proceed even without authority from Congress or a new law, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said.

“The President of the republic has the continuing principal authority under existing law to recover the Marcos ill-gotten hoard with the assistance of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG),” he said.

Lagman, however, stressed that any talks with the Marcos family “must conform to transparency, accountability and must have no conditionality.”

He added, “But why involve the Congress in a negotiation where the Marcos heirs are at best ambivalent and which may not even prosper beyond propaganda?”

After announcing that the Marcoses were open to returning to the government the gold bar, the President called on Congress to give him the authority to proceed with the negotiations to recover the ill-gotten wealth.

“Congress must authorize because that is money to be recovered by the government of the Philippines and that was the offer. That was the rationale of the governor when she offered,” Duterte had said, referring to Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, daughter of the late strongman who ruled from 1965 to 1986.

According to Lagman, the PCGG which was created by the late President Corazon Aquino under Executive Order No. 1 on February 28, 1986, is “charged with the task of assisting the President” in “the recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad.”

Under Executive Order No. 1, the President can also cause the investigation of the cases of graft and corruption which he may assign to the PCGG.

“Moreover, the President even on his own accord can negotiate the surrender of the ill-gotten hoard in the same manner that he can negotiate for the surrender of a high profile suspected criminal without any act of the Congress,” Lagman said.