MANILA – The Senate heard Thursday proposed measures to strengthen the Office of the Solicitor General, but key senators balked at a proposal to have the OSG absorb two separate agencies: the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
Solicitor General Jose Calida made the pitch to abolish the PCGG and OGCC, and place their functions under OSG, saying this would save the government a lot of money.
The two agencies have redundant functions with the OSG, Calida said, adding that collapsing them would be a good move in rightsizing the bureaucracy.
However, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Richard Gordon, the Blue Ribbon chairman, frowned on Calida’s proposal because there could be conflict of interest in merging the three agencies. They said there are certain independent functions that the OSG, PCGG and OGCC should continue to do.
Calida insisted, though, that there is no conflict of interest. He said the taxpayers can save money while the work will be speeded up if the functions of the OGCC and PCGG are transferred to OSG.
Calida said the OSG can hire some of the employees of the PCGG and OGCC who will be rendered jobless by the merger, but added such re-hiring will depend on the requirements of the OSG.
Gordon said that offhand, he finds Calida’s concept of a merged agency untenable, but added he will suspend judgment until he sees the agency’s position on the conflict of interest issue.