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Dealing with duplicity

It is one step closer to a leaner and meaner government.

Duplicity or redundancy is a major unnecessary government cost item.

And yet it is avoidable---it only takes political will to do it.

Quite thankfully, Congress has mustered the resolve to address it one agency at a time.

A House of Representatives' panel on Wednesday approved a measure that seeks to strengthen the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) while abolishing the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).

The House justice committee, chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, approved a consolidated bill, which seeks to abolish the PCGG and the OGCC and transfer all its authorities and responsibilities to the OSG.
    
The measure also seeks to strengthen the powers and functions of the OSG by increasing compensation, benefits and privileges of its employees.
    
The PCGG is focused on the recovery and preservation of ill-gotten wealth, while the OGCC is the principal law office of government-owned and controlled corporations.
    
The PCGG, however, is mired in controversies over its handling of ill-gotten wealth of top government officials since its creation in 1986.
    
Ironically, the agency’s top officials themselves have been suspected of amassing ill-gotten wealth  in the performance of their mandate.
    
This has eroded public confidence and trust in the agency over the last three decades, prompting calls for its abolition.
    
The OSG, on the other hand, is the law office representing the government.
    
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, one of the principal authors of the bill, cited the need to consolidate legal services into one office to achieve economy and eliminate overlapping functions.
    
“The consolidation of legal services in the OSG will specifically promote the wiser and more prudent use of public funds since this will do away with the practice of the OGCC of billing client GOCCs for legal services rendered,” Alvarez said.
    
The bill would be transmitted to the plenary for approval.