By Jeffrey Damicog
The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has been tasked to investigate the alleged ill-gotten wealth obtained by its former chairman, now Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairperson Andres Bautista.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II gave the directive under Department Order No. 551 which gave the PCGG authority to investigate allegations of corruption and unexplained wealth of Bautista during his time as PCGG chairman as well as to perform other investigative powers under its mandate.
The PCGG is an agency attached to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In his order, the DOJ chief instructed the PCGG to “closely coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the conduct of its investigation and is further authorized to prosecute cases, when necessary, in accordance with its powers under Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A above stated and other relevant laws.”
Aguirre asked the PCGG to look into the report of the COA on “more than One Hundred Million Pesos Unliquidated Cash Disbursements obtained from the Philippine National Bank (PNB) Dollar Escrow Accounts of the PCGG during the time of Chairman J. Andres Bautista as PCGG Chairman and thereafter.”
He also wanted the PCGG to look into the reported abuse of resources of PCGG sequestered and surrendered entities committed during the chairmanship of Bautista “including but not limited to the millions of pesos worth of gift checks and gift cards received by J. Andres Bautista and his staff, including those supposedly given to the members of the media.”
The Secretary sought the scrutiny of ill-gotten wealth, kickbacks and commissions Bautista may have received from, but not limited to, “the alleged payment of purported excessive billings made to law firms supposedly connected to him.”
Aguirre also asked the PCGG to check “cases (both civil and criminal) which were dismissed, compromised, or with adverse judgments.”