How PCGG helped Egypt, Libya recover loot

By David Dizon,

Posted at Jan 07 2013 11:00 AM | Updated as of Jan 07 2013 07:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government believes the agency has done a lot of good in its 26-year existence despite his own recommendation that it wind down its operations.

Speaking to ANC, PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista said the PCGG's pioneering work has even helped other countries recover ill-gotten wealth from Swiss banks.

"We are proud to say that the work of the PCGG has redounded to the benefit of other countries. Because of the work of the PCGG in Switzerland, [that country] actually changed its laws so that the laundering of money by dictators will no longer be permitted. Because of this, countries like Egypt, Libya, Haiti were able to recover monies from Swiss banks because of what PCGG started," he said.

The creation of the PCGG was the first order given by President Cory Aquino after the 1986 EDSA Revolution that deposed President Ferdinand Marcos. The sole purpose of the agency was to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family, which is estimated at $10 billion.

Bautista said the PCGG was always envisioned as an ad hoc committee and not a permanent government agency.

He noted that some of the fiscal agents who were tasked to run the sequestered corporations seized from the Marcoses actually looted these corporations.

The PCGG chairman, who was appointed in October 2010, said the agency is being hampered by its past. He said that in 2012, the PCGG only had a budget of P96 million or one half of the priority development assistance fund of a senator.

"The PCGG has had its ups and downs. Our feeling is that we wind down and give it to somebody else," he said, saying the PCGG's work can be transferred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Finance (DOF).

Bautista the PCGG has actually remitted more money to the national government that what it is spending. He said that in 2011, the PCGG had a budget of P93 million but recovered P268 million.

Last year, the PCGG was able to give back P575 million, excluding the San Miguel coco levy shares.