Marcos Jr. administration

Justice Quiroz leaving Sandiganbayan to join Marcos Cabinet?

Lian Buan
Justice Quiroz leaving Sandiganbayan to join Marcos Cabinet?

ALEX QUIROZ. Sandiganbayan Justice Alex Quiroz being interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council in 2018 for a post in the Supreme Court.

(1st UPDATE) If he accepts, Alex Quiroz will be overseeing 157 government corporations

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has appointed Sandiganbayan Justice Alex Quiroz as chairperson of the GCG or the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), Malacañang announced Saturday, July 23.

Quiroz’s mandatory retirement in the Sandiganbayan is still 2027, although he can avail himself of an early retirement. He has not done so as of Saturday, Rappler has confirmed with Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang.

Section 12, Article 8 of the Constitution says “members of the Supreme Court and of other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions.” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz Angeles has not responded yet to Rappler’s question how this clause affects Quiroz’s appointment.

Asked if he would accept the nomination, Quiroz told Rappler in a text message Saturday that he would answer on Monday, July 25. But the justice also said he “will file for an optional retirement.”

Quiroz had been applying to be a justice of the Supreme Court but was bypassed by former president Rodrigo Duterte for other picks.

As chairperson of the GCG, Quiroz will have the rank of a Cabinet secretary. The GCG oversees 157 GOCCs and is the central policy-making and regulatory body of the GOCCs. It is involved in the selection of directors, can recommend the abolition of a GOCC, and establishes salary standards. (Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that the GCG oversees 732 GOCCs. This has been corrected.)

According to the 2021 Report on Salaries and Allowances, the former chairperson of the GCG, Samuel Dagpin, had a basic salary of P3.2 million, bigger than Quiroz’s basic salary as a Sandiganbayan justice, which was P2.3 million. However, including allowances, bonus, and incentives, Quiroz earned more in 2021 – a total of P5.39 million – than Dagpin, who earned a total of P4.74 million that year.

Quiroz rulings on Marcos cases

In the last three years, Quiroz has penned three decisions junking ill-gotten wealth cases against the Marcoses and their cronies. The last one junked Civil Case No. 0011 that involved alleged kickbacks from the car projects of crony Ricardo Silverio. The Quiroz ponencia dismissed the case despite a letter from Silverio to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos informing the former president of the project, and saying “I am very grateful.”

It was also Quiroz who penned the ruling junking Civil Case No. 0002 involving P200 billion of ill-gotten wealth. A dissenting opinion to that ruling said it was not “warranted” for Quiroz to make a sweeping declaration that the entire P200 billion was not ill-gotten, saying some might have already been recovered by the government but was not thoroughly reflected because of poor accounting by the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

In 2019, Quiroz concurred in a ruling that declared some of the Marcoses’ artworks as unlawfully acquired.

What is GCG? OGCC?

The GCG is different from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel or the OGCC. The latter is the principal law office of GOCCs and conducts contract reviews.

A bill was filed to raise the salary grade of the chief corporate counsel and upgrade other positions in the OGCC. Marcos vetoed the bill, Malacañang announced Saturday.

Among the reasons given by Marcos was if the chief corporate counsel’s salary was to be upgraded, it would be the same as the secretary of justice and would “distort the supervisor-subordinate relationship of the said officials.”

Marcos also said the perks that would be given to OGCC lawyers would be “excessive.” – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.