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PCGG, scholarships and dissertations

opinion / Columnists
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With Due Respect

PCGG, scholarships and dissertations

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno recently revealed that a pending priority bill titled “Rightsizing the National Government Act of 2017” will abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and transfer its responsibilities to the Department of Justice.

PCGG’s accountability. This bill is similar to one earlier filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez seeking to transfer the PCGG’s functions (as well as that of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel) to the Office of the Solicitor General.

Tasked to recover the ill-gotten wealth of President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, the PCGG was created in 1986 by the very first executive order issued by the revolutionary government of President Corazon Aquino.

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At the outset, it was  internationally hailed for having cracked, for the first time in history, secret deposits in Switzerland and other heretofore impregnable financial havens in the world. Courts in Switzerland, the United States and the Philippines granted the PCGG’s claim of ownership over Marcos’ hidden wealth.

According to the Inquirer (7/27/17), the government has thus far recovered a total of P170 billion in ill-gotten wealth. Huge as this amount may be, it is only a fraction of the initial estimate of $10 billion (or P500 billion under the present exchange rate), excluding accumulated interests and increases in value of the properties.

Before the PCGG is dissolved or merged with other agencies, I think it must first be required to pinpoint, locate and account for these recovered assets, be these cash, bonds, real estate, shares of stock, paintings or jewelry, whether in the Philippines or elsewhere. The many reports of wastage, losses, malversation, criminal neglect, or outright thievery must be verified and put to rest.

FLP scholarships. Good news for law students. The Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) is offering 16 new law scholarships (six for seniors and 10 for juniors) for the school year 2017-2018. These new scholarships will augment those awarded last year and renewed this year.

Cosponsored by the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, with the cooperation of the Philippine Association of Law Schools, the scholarships amount to P200,000 for each scholar, divided into P100,000 for tuition, P80,000 for stipend and P20,000 for books.

Applicants must be in the top 20 of their respective batches, have a grade point average of at least 85 percent with no dropped subject and no grade lower than 75 percent in their previous law studies.

They also need to submit a short essay on the philosophy of liberty and prosperity, no later than Aug. 15. For application forms and details, please visit the FLP website, www.libpros.com.

FLP dissertation contest. The FLP is likewise offering cash prizes for the best dissertations of junior, senior and graduate students of law also for the school year 2017-2018. This contest is cosponsored by the Ayala Group with the cooperation of the Philippine Association of Law Schools also.

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The best dissertation will be awarded P300,000, the second best, P200,000, and three third placers, P100,000 each. Further, the top 20 entries in the elimination round will get P20,000 each. All winners will receive commemorative plaques.

Entries should expound on the philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law. They will be judged on: 1) the significance, relevance and timeliness of the specific topic chosen; 2) their comprehensiveness and analysis; 3) their innovation, objectivity, depth, exposition and coherence; and 4) their writing quality, clarity of expression, brevity and literary style.

This contest is open to all law schools. In contrast, the scholarships are offered only to the schools that scored higher than the mean national passing rate in the last bar exam. Given the late start of the school year, the deadline for submission of entries has been extended from June 30 to Sept. 15. Those interested may download forms and seek further information from the FLP website.

Comments to chiefjusticepanganiban@hotmail.com

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TAGS: artemio v. panganiban, Benjamin E. Diokno, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, Office of the Solicitor General, Pantaleon Alvarez, PCGG, rightsizing government, With Due Respect
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