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Drilon: PCGG has power to enter into compromise agreement

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), under the law and existing jurisprudence, is authorized to enter into compromise agreements, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon.

Drilon, a former justice secretary, made the statement in response to questions by the media as to whether PCGG can enter into compromise agreements for recovery of any ill-gotten wealth.

"Under the law, the PCGG is mandated to assist the President in the recovery of ill-gotten wealth," said Drilon.

"In pursuit of its mandate, the PCGG can legally enter into compromise agreements," Drilon explained.

The compromise, Drilon stressed, should be "limited only to civil cases" as in the forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth.

Drilon however clarified that while there is clear jurisprudence establishing PCGG's authority to enter into such agreements, the validity of the stipulations in the compromise agreement must pass judicial scrutiny.

"Any compromise agreement shall be valid and binding only upon court approval. No agreement can be made contrary to law or the Constitution," he emphasized.

Drilon also clarified that he is not supporting any compromise agreement but was merely explaining PCGG's authority.

The former justice secretary listed at least three cases where the court upheld the power of the PCGG to enter into compromise agreements.

In the 2005 case of Republic and Jose O. Campos, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, the Court ruled that the compromise agreement between PCGG and alleged Marcos dummy Potenciano Ilusorio, "must be accorded utmost respect." The said agreement was approved by then President Fidel Ramos and subsequently approved by the Sandiganbayan.

In Benedicto v. Board of Administrators of Television Stations RPN, BBC, and IBC, Drilon said the Court ruled that the power of the PCGG to enter into compromise agreements was "indisputable."

In Chavez v. PCGG, the Court also said that the PCGG may enter into compromise agreements involving cases of ill-gotten wealth, "pursuant to EO 14's objective of securing a just and expeditious recovery of such wealth."

Drilon explained that these are only some in a long line of cases showing that the authority of the PCGG to enter into compromise agreements in civil cases is settled and established.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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