Press Release
January 31, 2018

Drilon wants govt to rethink expanding functions of OSG, abolishing PCGG, OGCC

Alarmed over a staggering 730,000 cases pending before the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon stressed the need to strengthen the government's principal legal defender.

But Drilon, a former justice secretary, doubted the proposal to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and transfer their powers to the OSG would serve the purpose.

"We agree on streamlining and right-sizing as a matter policy but we should look at the efficiency. The OSG has its both hands full," Drilon said.

The minority leader said the government and the Congress should take a second look at the proposals to abolish the PCGG and OGCC and transfer their functions to the OSG.

At present, there are about 730,000 cases that are pending before the OSG and 374,424 of which are active cases, which Drilon described as "staggering and worrisome".

Per Drilon's estimate, a lawyer in the OSG would have to attend to about 1,400 cases. It was revealed that there are only 240 lawyers in the OSG at present. The OSG has 390 authorized plantilla positions but has yet to fill the vacancies.

"I can't imagine a lawyer handling 1,400 cases," Drilon said. "The efficiency and batting average of the OSG would suffer if we do not address it."

"Should we burden the OSG even more by giving it more responsibilities than what it could handle, because it is obvious the agency is overwhelmed and understaffed?" Drilon said.

"I doubt that transferring the functions of the PCGG and OGCC to the OSG would solve the problem," he added.

Instead, Drilon said the functions of the OSG should be reviewed. He cited in particular the OSG's mandate to intervene in marital cases. The OSG is tasked to represent the state's interest in preserving the institution of marriage. It determines whether there is collusion between the parties - a function that Drilon believes the judge can already perform in the course of the proceedings.

At present, there are approximately 145,000 marriage-related cases pending in the OSG, he noted.

Drilon said that legislation should also remove the burden of intervening in marital cases from the OSG and allow it "to focus on more critical cases involving the government."

Drilon said that he would submit a proposal to remove from the OSG the burden of intervening in marital cases, leaving the responsibility to the judiciary.

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