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Former PCGG heads liable for P8M in illegal bonuses

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by Allan Yves Briones

Former heads of the agency tasked to recover the Marcoses’ stolen wealth have been ordered to return over P8 million in “illegal” benefits disbursed to their employees.

In a decision by the Commission on Audit (COA) Commission Proper, it denied the petition for review of former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Acting Chairman Richard Amurao and Commissioner Vicente Gengos, regarding an earlier notice of disallowance.

In the notice, the state auditing agency disallowed the payment of P8.34 million by the ex-PCGG heads allegedly meant for the provision of calamity assistance, gift checks, goodwill incentives and collective negotiation agreement incentives from 2012 to 2013.

According to the July 4 decision, the aforementioned benefits were not approved by the President and did not conform to the guidelines prescribed by the Department of Budget and Management.

“As to the merits, this commission finds the payments of the benefits/incentives without legal basis,” the COA proper said.

The ex-PCGG officials argued that the benefits were in good faith in the face of billions returned to the government due to their employees’ hard work.

“If these assertions are true, it only shows that the PCGG is doing its mandate to recover ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates,” the decision read. “However, while this commission recognizes these valuable accomplishments of PCGG, these cannot be the basis for payments of the disallowed benefits.”

Those officials and employees, according to the decision, who accepted the benefits are not similarly ordered to return them – only those former officials who signed off on the same.

The decision was signed by COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Roland Pondoc, and was promulgated last July 4. #

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