Comelec chair defends PCGG track record
COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista yesterday held up his track record as head of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), saying that the agency tasked with recovering ill-gotten wealth improved its performance under his watch.
At the same time, he pointed out that the public also perceived the PCGG to be one of the most effective government agencies, based on a recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS).
“In a new SWS survey on corruption released last week, PCGG achieved the most notable upgrade among the various governmental agencies, rising by 53 points—from a -38 rating in 2009 to a +15 grade in 2014,” Bautista said in a statement released at the weekend.
“Moreover, from 2012 to 2014 or for three straight years, PCGG copped the best-performing agency award among the 11-office Department of Justice cluster,” he added.
Bautista’s defense of his track record comes a few days after the Senate deferred action on his confirmation as Comelec chair supposedly for his actions during his stint as PCGG chair from September 2010 until President Aquino appointed him to the poll body this year.
In particular, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile asked for the deferment of Bautista’s confirmation due to a complaint filed by Lin Ilusorio Bildner and Jose Ozamis, shareholders of the partially sequestered Philcomsat group of companies.
Bautista pointed out that the dispute over the control of Philcomsat existed long before he was appointed to run PCGG and that the most contentious issues also occurred before his time.
“The battle for the control of the Philcomsat group of companies is a long-standing fight between two factions of the Ilusorio family,” Bautista said. “During the Arroyo administration, from 2001 to 2007, I understand that the nominees of the PCGG at that time sided with the faction led by Erlinda and Ramon Ilusorio, Concepcion Poblador, et al. However, in 2008, Ms. Lin Ilusorio Bildner together with Ms. Katrina Ponce Enrile were able to take over the management of Philcomsat.”
The Philippine government has a 35-percent interest in Philcomsat, which was surrendered to PCGG by the IRC group of businessman Jose Campos. PCGG has also filed cases to recover another 20-percent stake in Philcomsat.
“You will note from the opposition that the main acts being complained about the PCGG happened between 2003 and 2007, which is way before my assumption as PCGG chair in September 2010,” Bautista said.
To represent the government’s stake, and after due consultations with the Office of the President and the Department of Finance, then Privatization Management Office chief Karen Singson and Bautista were nominated to the board of Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corp. (POTC), which is the parent firm of Philcomsat.
“We were then elected to the board with the knowledge and assistance of current management,” Bautista said. “However, I was never invited to and hence has never attended even one board meeting. So I am completely surprised by Mr. Ozamis’ assertion that during the Aquino administration ‘PCGG intruded into and actively interfered in the business affairs of Philcomsat.’ This is simply a complete falsehood.”
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