By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II believes the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) should remain attached to his office and that both the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) should continue to exist.
Aguirre’s stand is contained in the position paper he sent to the House of Representatives committee on justice which sought his comment over House Bill Nos. 5216 and 5233 that proposes to place the OSG under the Office of the President and to abolish both the PCGG and OGCC and have their powers and functions absorbed by the OSG.
“We strongly object to these provisions,” stressed Aguirre in his position paper he himself signed.
The Secretary pointed out “all offices providing legal service, including the OSG, should be attached to the DOJ (Department of Justice).” Both the PCGG and the OGCC are also under the DOJ.
“It is our view that the OSG should continue to be an agency attached to the DOJ, mainly because the powers and functions of the OSG are devolved from this department’s power as the ‘principal law agency of the government and as legal counsel and representative thereof’,” read Aguirre’s position paper.
Aside from OSG, PCGG and OGCC, the other attached agencies of the DOJ are the National Prosecution Service which is the government’s prosecution arm and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) which provides legal services to the indigent.
The DOJ chief argued “there should not be a distortion of powers and functions between the Secretary of Justice as Attorney General and Solicitor General.”
“With the proposal to be placed under the Office of the President, and amended functions, some of which duplicate the powers of the Secretary of Justice, the proposal of the OSG would certainly distort the powers and functions of the Secretary of Justice and Solicitor General,” he explained.
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