De Lima: Abcede not PCGG officer-in-charge
By Edu Punay
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima nullified yesterday an order of Commissioner Ricardo Abcede designating himself as officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
De Lima said in a statement that Abcede’s memorandum last July 14 is void since it did not have her required approval. Abcede’s memorandum was addressed to the PCGG rank and file, declaring himself as OIC, being the most senior commissioner, until a new PCGG chairman or any new commissioner is appointed.
De Lima, who has administrative control over the commission, said the position of OIC of PCGG remains vacant since her office is still in the process of determining from the records who exactly is next in rank and the most senior official of the PCGG.
“Once a determination has been made, an OIC will be designated,” she clarified.
She also ordered Abcede to explain why he should not be charged for declaring himself as OIC without the approval of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
De Lima assailed what she thinks was a “preemptive announcement” made by Abcede that he has been designated as temporary chief of PCGG until President Aquino appoints a new chairman, based on a legal opinion of the DOJ.
“We cannot take shortcuts. So we will look carefully into the records of the PCGG, in order to accurately determine who should be the next OIC. Let no one preempt our decision,” she stressed.
De Lima explained that any designation of OIC of the PCGG would be valid only upon her express and written approval.
In her memorandum circular issued last July 16, De Lima said: “Chairman Sabio is deemed separated from office as of 30 June 2010. The next-in-rank and most senior official of the PCGG, who shall take over as Officer-in-Charge, shall replace Chairman Sabio in the performance of duties and discharge of responsibilities until July 31, 2010 or until a replacement has been appointed or designated.”
But she clarified that there is nothing in her opinion that expressly named Abcede as OIC already.
The STAR reported that Abcede claimed that De Lima’s opinion in effect has already named him as OIC of the commission.
De Lima said she was surprised by the statement of Abcede, who even declared in a memorandum last July 16 that he recognizes the authority of DOJ and also assures her of his full cooperation with her directives.
She said that there was a clear “attempt (by Abcede) to designate himself as OIC.”
Another PCGG executive – Danilo Daniel, the agency’s most senior officer and the commission’s director for research – also claimed to be the OIC of the commission last week.
Daniel issued a memorandum order last July 2 announcing that he was assuming as OIC in view of Memorandum Circular 1 issued by Malacañang
declaring that all coterminous officials appointed by Arroyo are resigned effective last June 30.