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Government Corporate Attorney III – Item No.: OGCCB-Govca3-8-1998 and 14-1998; SG-27; QS: Bachelor of Laws; 3 years of experience in the practice of law; 16 hours of relevant training; Eligibility: RA 1080 (Bar).

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BFARs 2014

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79th Anniversary Message
Date Posted : 2014-12-01

79th Anniversary Message

(Delivered during the Anniversary Program @ OGCC, 1 December 2014)


Good morning!

Founded in 1935, the OGCC is 79 years old today. We do know some interesting facts about the creation of our Office in 1935. But allow me to give you another trivia by taking you back, not in 1935, but in 1927. Yes, 1927. There is a unique event that happened in 1927, which I believe led to the historic creation of the OGCC.

Before Governor General Leonard Wood left for the United States in 1927 due to a terminal illness, his final instruction was to dissolve or dispose the GOCCs. But obviously, this did not happen. In fact, GOCCs continued to flourish and exist as a vital economic and social tool of the government. This, to me, is a clear indication of the GOCCs’ importance in the country. The expanded and expanding coverage of these GOCCs, from energy to water, from banking to infrastructure, from agriculture to trade, from communication to transportation, among others, is a testament of its massive reach and relevance.

Another indication that GOCCs are meant to stay is the creation and continued evolution of the small corporate counsel division under the Department of Justice. Created in 1935, this special unit later evolved into a separate agency under the DOJ, now known as the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel or OGCC.

So what realization can we derive from this?

The first realization is that, with the non-fulfillment of Governor General Wood’s instructions in 1927, and with the continued proliferation of GOCCs, and finally with the passage of Republic Act 10149 or the GOCC Governance Act, it is obvious that government corporations have become indispensable tools for economic development. In fact, our experience in the past four years tells us that when you properly regulate the GOCC sector, and when you put the right people to manage these state-owned enterprises, you will definitely see a turn around, just like MWSS and LWUA – from a decade-long of negative financial standing, to four continuous years of positive yearly earnings.  What is more, you will also note a dramatic 300% improvement.  This can be seen from the average PhP9billion per annum remittance of GOCCs from 2000 to 2010, to the PhP27 billion average dividend turn over from 2011 to 2013. In February next year, we shall see the 2014 performance of the GOCCs. I am sure that it will again be within the vicinity of the average established in the past three years.

The second realization is that, with the creation of a DOJ corporate division in 1935, there is clearly a recognized need for a special legal arm to address the needs of these government corporations. That is the special reason for the creation of this Office.

Today, 79 years after its creation, the OGCC must not forget its purpose, its mandate, and its special role.  As lawyers of the government corporate sector, we will be able to better appreciate the importance of this role only if we relate this to the bigger picture – and I am referring to a US$144 billion picture. Accordingly, every case that we handle, every opinion that we render, and every contract that we review, including the speed by which we do it, has an impact on this PhP5trillion portfolio. As I have always said: good economics is a result of good governance; and good governance is, to a large extent, influenced by sound legal advice.

So how did we fare in 2014? Have we been true to our mandate to serve as the premier law office of the government corporate sector? 

Allow me to give you a few statistics.

There were 51 lawyers who actively served the OGCC in 2014. Six vacant positions remain unfilled until today.

From the 4,011 cases carried over from 2013, we are, as of November 15, actively handling a total of 4,328 cases, net of those that were already terminated, or a 9% increase. 

How competently did we handle the cases in 2014? Based on our figures, of the 46 resolutions/decisions rendered by the various courts, 80.43% are favorable rulings, while 19.57% are adverse rulings. Cases involving billions of pesos have been won. I thus commend the OGCC lawyers for this high percentage of cases successfully handled, especially that we do not get to choose the type of cases to handle.  The bottom line, I believe, is that no case has been dismissed with finality in the past four years due to mishandling or negligence.

Our records also show that, from January 1 to November 15 of this year, our Office released/filed the following:

a)    240 legal opinions;

b)    398 contract reviews;

c)    1,329 major pleadings; and

d)   1,196 letters/advice.

What do these numbers indicate? It means that everyday of every week of this year, as in the previous years, we have been averaging 3 opinions/contract reviews, 5 major pleadings, and 4 letters-advice per day. That would translate to about 12 major documents per day. Hence, if we work for a minimum of 12 hours a day, then that would mean that we actually process and release 1 major document/legal brief per hour. 

How about our timeliness? How fast have we reverted to our client GOCCs who make the request for opinion or contract review? Based on our 28-day cycle compliance record, out of the 398 contracts reviewed, we were able to timely release 359, or 90.20%. Also, out of the 240 legal opinions rendered, we have timely released 197, or 82.08%. Taken together, our compliance rating is 87.15%. Notably, our 2014 target is 80%. Hence, we have a rating of 108.93% [based on target].

Finally, we have been able to maintain our zero-backlog in opinion, contract review and administrative cases. We have also been able to keep our 100% disposition rating. On top of these, we have been able to pursue our ABC Programs (Able Lawyers, Better Service and Clearer Rules), which we embarked since November 2010. Specifically for 2014, we were able to do the following:

Able Lawyers – Two MCLE programs and four arbitrations seminars for OGCC and GOCC lawyers, in partnership with the Hongkong International Arbitration Center, Singapore International Arbitration Center, Philippine Institute of Arbitrators, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and the Office for Alternative Dispute Resolution. There is also an on-going search for the 2014 Ramon Diokno Awardees (Outstanding Government Corporate Lawyers). The actual awards night shall be held on January 30, 2015.

Better Service – We have maintained our zero-backlog and 100% disposition rating.

Clearer Rules – This year saw our major stride in the adoption of uniform rules in the arbitration of disputes and controversies between and among government agencies and GOCCs.  Moreover, the Handbook for Lawyers in the GOCC Sector will be ready for release during the General Assembly and Awards Night on January 30.

All the foregoing is a testament of everybody’s hard work. I therefore congratulate you all for being a part of, as DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima commented during the recently concluded DOJ Executive Planning, the “lean and mean organization” that is the OGCC.  Let us continue to be the best lawyers we can be, in the service of our country.  

Again, thank you for your industry and dedication. Happy Anniversary at Mabuhay po tayong lahat!

Date Posted : 2014-05-21

Government Corporate Counsel RAOUL C. CREENCIA obtained his Political Science degree from the University of Santo Tomas.  He pursued his Bachelor of Laws from San Beda College, and later got his Diploma in Law from the University of Sydney, Australia.

He began his professional career as an associate in the law firm of Roberto Abad, an erudite practitioner who later became Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Immediately after his admission to the bar in 1994, Atty. Creencia became a professor of San Sebastian School of Law, where he taught Constitutional Law, Investment and Banking Laws, Legal Ethics, and Argumentation and Debate.  In September 1996, he formed the Creencia & Carillo Law Offices, later renamed Creencia Carillo & Baldovino Law Offices, where he was connected for 14 years until his entry to government service.

Atty. Creencia’s private practice encompassed the various fields of civil, criminal and commercial laws. He was engaged in civil and commercial litigation, and argued his cases in the trial courts as well as the Supreme Court en banc. In 2009, he began lecturing for colleagues through MCLE on topics that include automated system of elections, oral advocacy, rules governing children in conflict with the law, and legal ethics for government corporate lawyers.  He also delivers lectures and talks on corporate governance to the GOCC sector, among which are the executive officers of the Governance Commission for GOCCs, and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Upon his appointment in October 2010, Atty. Creencia immediately pushed to make the OGCC a truly effective statutory counsel of at least 130 GOCCs and 648 water districts. In his first 100 days, he pursued and achieved a zero-backlog in opinion and contract review, and later a zero backlog in administrative cases. In 2012, he improved the 28-day response rating from 56% to 80%.

He also formulated the OGCC’s 2011 Implementing Rules and Regulations or IRR, issued the 2012 OGCC Lawyers’ Manual, launched the 2013 Systems and Procedures Manual, and will soon release a Handbook for GOCC Lawyers covering frequently asked questions and issues in the GOCC sector. He also organized in-house training programs and MCLE lectures for the advancement of OGCC and GOCC lawyers.  Six full-MCLE programs have thus far been conducted, and at least three arbitration training and accreditation were held for these lawyers.

To instill better cooperation and closer coordination with the hundreds of lawyers in the various government corporations, GCC Creencia organized the first General Assembly of Government Corporate Lawyers in 2011, followed up with a second assembly in 2012, the 3rd Assembly in 2013, and will soon spearhead the fourth general assembly in 2014. A Year-End Forum was also held in December 2011 and 2012.

In recognition of the contribution of lawyers in enabling GOCCs as effective economic and social tools, outstanding GOCC lawyers were recognized through the 2012 Ramon Diokno Award, named after the first Government Corporate Counsel, former Senator and Supreme Court Justice Ramon Diokno. A Legal Paper writing contest was also held, called the Ponencia. The two activities will be held every two years.

Finally, with an editorial board composed of various lawyers from the GOCCs, Atty. Creencia launched the official newsmagazine for the GOCC legal sector, entitled “The White Paper”.

In March 2013, GCC Creencia put together a customized training module that will eventually be prescribed to the hundreds of OGCC and GOCC lawyers, which was presented and approved during the first General Counsels Round-Table Forum, attended by about 50 of the general counsels of the top GOCCs.

In his stint as Government Corporate Counsel, and in formulating his programs for the government corporate sector, Atty. Creencia is constantly guided by his ABC Formula, i.e., -- Able Lawyers, Better Service and Clearer Rules.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 3rd General Assembly of PAGCLAW
Date Posted : 2013-08-30


By Raoul C. Creencia
Government Corporate Counsel
Chairman, PAGCLAW

(Delivered during the 3rd General Assembly of Government Corporate Lawyers

30 August 2013, Bulwagan ng Diwang Pilipino, DBP Penthouse, DBP Building,
Makati Avenue corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City)

PAGCLAW officers and members of the Board of Trustees, fellow lawyers in the government corporate sector, good afternoon!

Welcome to our 3rd PAGCLAW General Assembly, with the theme: GOCCs as Effective Economic Tools. In this first part of our Assembly, we will have our usual introductions, the reports of your Chairman, President and Treasurer, as well as the launching of our new projects. We will proceed with the nomination and election of a new set of Trustees.

Later, in the second part, we will be hearing from our host, DBP President Gil Buenaventura who will formally welcome us all, and our guest speaker and inducting officer, COA Chairperson Grace Pulido Tan.

Allow me, at this point, to give you a summary of the major projects that your 2012-2013 PAGCLAW Board has accomplished.

Actually, it has been less than a year since we had our 2nd General Assembly last October, so our outgoing officers only had 10 months to accomplish these worthwhile projects for you. But I tell you, we are once again fortunate to have a set of officers who have unselfishly given their time and talent for our organization, and who, in the past several months, have built on the past success of the previous Board. Truly, in the past 10 months, your officers and trustees gave the best of themselves to PAGCLAW.

Allow me to acknowledge and thank them one by one.

Atty. Ricardo S. Arlanza (LandBank) – President
2. Atty. Benilda A. Tejada (DBP) – Vice President
3.Atty. Judy Carol L. Dansal (NFA) - Secretary
Atty. Ma. Teresa D. Gaerlan (SSS) - Treasurer
5.Atty. Datu Reza Sinsuat (SPDC) - Asst. Secretary
6.Atty. Gloria S. Tirado (SSS) - Asst. Treasurer
Atty. Fritzie T. Fabricante (DBP) -  Auditor
Atty. Noel Z. De Leon (Transco) - Trustee
9.Atty. Jaime T. De Veyra (PMDC) -Trustee
10.Atty. Cecilio B. Gellada (PSALM) - Trustee
11.Atty. Arnaldo Espinas (LWUA) -Trustee
12.Atty. Primo Elvin L. Siosana (Pagcor) - Trustee
13.Atty. Darwin De Leon (PhilHealth) - Trustee

Although not an elected officer, our Assistant Treasurer, Atty. Aya Tirado, has actively participated in our meetings and ably assisted us in our various projects.

As I earlier mentioned, your 2012-2013 Board enthusiastically picked up from where the previous Board left off, and successfully completed the following projects:

1. Year-End Forum and Awards Night. Held at the Grand Theater of the Airport Casino Filipino, our second Year-End Forum was made more special as it likewise served as the recognition night for our Diokno and Ponencia awardees. Our guest speaker during the Forum was Atty. Roan Libarios, the National President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. The other honored guests who were present were DOJ Undersecretary Francisco F. Baraan III, GCG Commissioner Rainier Butalid; and GCG Lawyer Roy Rafols. Together with Atty. Libarios, our guests served as the panel of judges in our Search for the Outstanding Government Corporate Lawyers, as well as ourPonencia Legal Writing Contest. The following awardees were recognized:

a.Outstanding General Counsel  - Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago (PAGCOR);
b.Outstanding Associate Lawyer -  Atty. Elvie Albano (DBP); and
c. Ponencia Legal Writing – AGCC Rodolfo Sabio (OGCC) with his winning entry entitled:Adopting a Model Framework for Corporate Governance at the Public Sector: Issues and Concerns.

2. 1stGeneral Counsels Round Table Forum.

In March this year, we held our first General Counsels’ Round Table Forum at the SSS Executive Lounge, attended by about 50 GOCC general counsels, where we discussed and approved a uniform training module for all GOCC lawyers. During the second part of the forum, GCG Chair Villanueva was invited to speak to the General Counsels on various issues.  This gathering of General Counsels will be the first of a series of meetings that will hopefully spur more active collaboration and exchange of ideas for the improvement of legal services in the GOCC sector.

3.Training Module for GOCC Lawyers.

A training module is already being finalized, after a revised format was adopted during the General Counsels’ Forum.  The GOCC Legal Training Module is an outline of topics that will be taught by a group of carefully chosen lecturers, practitioners and academicians.

Soon, training sessions will be scheduled and all GOCC and OGCC lawyers will be required to undergo the same. We will of course work out a mechanism whereby our training will also serve as our MCLE compliance.

4. PAGCLAW Website. This will be launched in a few minutes. We now have our own website where all relevant information can be easily shared with all lawyers in the GOCC sector.  Hence, useful information and notices relevant to GOCC lawyers will now be accessible. Presidential issuances, laws and other rules that relate to our duties as GOCC counsels will be posted in our website. In this regard, everyone is enjoined to contribute and do his share in making our website a relevant and lively meeting place in cyberspace.

5. The White Paper. We are also launching today the second issue ofThe WHITE PAPER, the bi-annual newsmagazine of the GOCC legal sector. As you know, we launched the maiden issue of this magazine during our General Assembly last year. The magazine will contain articles on and photos of our various activities in the past ten months. It will also introduce us to our featured CEO -- GSIS President & CEO Bernie Vergara, and contain the winningPonencia article of Atty. Rodolfo Sabio, as well as other interesting write-ups on the GOCCs and the lawyers in the sector.

6. 3rd General Assembly. This afternoon’s assembly is the final project of the current officers and Board members. Through the graciousness of our host, the Development Bank of the Philippines, with our chorale group from National Food Authority, and of course with the participation of one and all, our third yearly major event has again brought us all together.

These projects would not have been possible if not for the enthusiastic cooperation and help of all.  This is why I again thank you for your consistent support and participation.

If feels like it was only yesterday when we convened at a hall in PAGCOR’s Airport Casino for our first general assembly in July 2011. So much has happened since then.  And I would also like to congratulate you all for contributing to the P77 billion that has thus far been remitted by the GOCC sector to the National Government. For 2012 alone, about P28 billion was turned over, which actually exceeded the target by 23.9%. I say congratulations because, as government corporate lawyers, we have surely contributed to each of the seventy-seven billion pesos that have been remitted to the government.

I hope we will all continue to stay the course and dutifully perform our role a legal advisors. In my talk last month before the officers of DBP during its Forum on Good Governance, I said that, as lawyers, we must play the dual role of a visionary and a leader.

As a visionary, the lawyer must perform a role that extends beyond advising about the minimum legally required standards of corporate governance.  As lawyers, we must be ready to make the connections between good corporate governance and good business; and between good business and excellent public service.  We must be abreast of the latest thinking on corporate governance and be ready to help the management and the board to fashion a healthy corporate culture that values a solid ethical environment, accountability and full and fair disclosure of financial condition.

The second is as a leader. In DBP, for instance, the "tone at the top" is set by the highest body - its board of directors. But the board cannot set the tone by itself. It needs the active aid of its executive officers, including the legal officers. A legal counsel is certainly in a unique position to lead by example and to foster respect for, and adherence to, the highest ethical and legal standards.

Indeed, as lawyers, we play an important role in ensuring that GOCCs will continue to become effective economic tools. Let us continue to play our roles conscientiously and judiciously.  If I may repeat my earlier message to you -- we are government lawyers, and we serve the public; and we owe it to our public to give our all, at all times and in all occasions.

Once again, thank you and Mabuhay!

Date Posted : 2011-12-01

Philippine Association of Government Corporate Lawyers, Inc.

1st General Assembly

Forum Hall, Airport Casino Filipino, Paranaque City
7 July 2011


- Raoul C. Creencia -
PAGCLAW Chairman
Government Corporate Counsel


His Excellency Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, PAGCLAW President, Atty. Ric Arlanza, outgoing and incoming members of the PAGCLAW Board of Trustees, PAGCOR President and COO Atty. Jorge V. Sarmiento, PAGCOR, by the way, is our host this afternoon, my fellow lawyers in the government corporate sector, guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen, good evening!

The Philippine Association of Government Corporate Lawyers or PAGCLAW is a young organization whose time has come. As lawyers of the various government owned and controlled corporations, government instrumentalities with corporate powers, government corporate entities, and government financial institutions, we find ourselves in a challenging era of reforms. This is why, today, perhaps more than any other time in the history of the government corporate sector, there is a much greater need to strengthen the ties between and among us - the legal service providers.

This is why I thank you all for participating in this afternoon’s 1st PAGCLAW General Assembly. Nakakatuwa pong makita na ang dami po natin ngayon. Marahil ito'y pagpapatunay na tayong mga abogado sa mga pampublikong korporasyon ay mangunguna sa pagtugon sa panawagan para sa malawakang reporma.

Ang ating pagtitipon ngayon ay isang magandang simulain.
And this was made more significant and meaningful by the presence of our guest of honor - Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Simula pa lang ito para sa PAGCLAW
. We will soon be organizing other activities, such as lectures on topics of common concerns, MCLE programs, and other fora beneficial to all government corporate lawyers.

Our theme today is "PAGCLAW Amid Reforms in the Government Corporate Sector". In this regard, let me now engage you in a simple exercise. Let us momentarily imagine that we are not part of government; that we are not lawyers even.  Let us imagine that we are just a bunch of critical observers. Let us imagine that we are outsiders looking in, that we are simple stakeholders looking for answers.

What do you think will we see?

Perhaps we will see GOCCs with approximately $141 billion in assets, and also surely see that this is much bigger, almost double, than the national government's assets worth P2.8 trillion. Maybe we will also see that in 2009, total expenditures of GOCCs consisted of 28% of the national government’s total expenditures; and that 91 percent of the  National Government's receivables or about P433 billion are due from GOCCs.

As critical observers, we will also note the P85.4 billion aggregate deficit of the major GOCCs in the past 5 years.  It will surely not escape us that the significant financial losses of the GOCCs contribute to the public sector debt;  and that as of last quarter alone, the government had borrowed P64.7 billion for GOCCs. Finally, we will surely hear the clarion's call for reform by no less than President Aquino himself, in fact best articulated with the recent passage of the GOCC Governance Act of 2011.

These are the things that we will see. A sector that is so much a part of our national life... A sector that has its strong and undeniable presence in almost everything -- from energy to ecozones, from banking and finance to gaming, from infrastructure to water, from transportation to communication, and many more.

With this backdrop, imagine the concomitant challenge of providing efficient, responsive and competent legal service to this multi-billion dollar portfolio.  Imagine how a socially responsive and sound legal advice can surely and positively influence the management and formulation of their legal and fiscal policies. Imagine if we have a breed of lawyers who are willing to take on this challenge. Imagine.

My fellow lawyers and public servants in the corporate sector, we can now stop imagining.  The truth is, the reality is, we are in a position to make a difference. We can be a catalyst for reform.

Our respective positions, either as in-house or statutory counsel, or as director, trustee, or legal consultant, require us, as a matter of duty, to influence decisions based on sound legal advice. It is our duty to render consistent and credible advice not only taking into account legal considerations but, more importantly, the public interest.Ako po ay naniniwala na lahat tayo ay handang gampanan  o di kaya'y ginagampanan na ang tungkuling ito.

As government corporate lawyers, and in the performance of our duty, we must not only have a unified and principled vision, but also a visionary and unifying principle to purposely help steer our GOCCs towards a more socially-attuned and patriotically-inspired governance.

As lawyers called upon to check on past misdeeds, we must objectively and courageously evaluate and re-examine the transactions of the previous boards and executive officers of our respective corporations.

I am glad to note that actions towards this end are on-going in various corporations, and I specifically commend PAGCOR and PCSO for leading in these efforts. Lawyers in PAGCOR and PCSO are in forefront in exorcising and cleansing their respective corporations.

Indeed, we must all be on the same page in this regard. We must share the same passion and mission. Surely,  the government, our government under President Benigno Aquino and our guest Vice President Jejomar Binay, expects the entire government machinery  to work as a cohesive and well-coordinated whole - and we lawyers in government are not exempt in this regard.

It follows that the legal advice we offer must always have regard to the big picture across agency and portfolio boundaries, because that is the way our principals, our clients, the GOCCs, will assess our advice and judge its usefulness.  As lawyers, we must be focused on solving the problem presented before us, and not on expounding the law. It  means giving short and sharp advice that deals with the real issue under consideration. It means focusing presentations so they cut straight to the heart of the matter. It means understanding how our advice can help our principals achieve the desired goals. It means providing options wherever possible; preparing advice that takes account of whole of government issues; and attending to the fundamentals of good service.

We all know that our sector is in the middle of serious reform efforts.  We must, as lawyers, seize the opportunity to positively contribute to this not-so-impossible dream of catapulting the GOCCs into real gems in the firmament of our nation’s economic and social life.

I have no doubt in my mind that we – together – can truly make an absolutely essential contribution to improving and reforming the government corporations.  And with PAGCLAW as our vehicle, we can surely enhance our efforts in this regard.  With the passage of the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, the time of bureaucratic fiefdoms is now over.Dahil dito,  tapos na rin po ang panahon na para bagang may kanya-kanyang mundo ang mga abugado sa mga GOCCs.  Panahon na para tayo’y mag-isa at maki-isa sa layuning mapaganda at mapa-ayos ang palakad ng ating mga kliyenteng korporasyon.

Let us be the best lawyers we can be in the service of our country.

Thank you and good evening to you all!



Philippine Association of Water Districts
National Convention
“Water Matters”

11 February 2011, Davao City

- Raoul C. Creencia -
Government Corporate Counsel

President Nestor “Gang” Villasin, the other officers and members of the Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD), Delegates, Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening.

It is a great honor to be with you tonight as you are about to end your 32nd PAWD National Convention.

I am glad to be a part of this national gathering of men and women who matters; men and women who correctly acknowledge that indeed “water matters”, men and women who found time to deliberate and discuss on matters about water.

Indeed, you have spent the past few days in this convention, to renew and strengthen your ties, to discuss common issues and concerns, and to further push your common advocacy – that is to provide adequate and sustainable water for all.

Managing and securing access to water and sanitation for all is one of the most challenging items in our government’s agenda today. It requires us to rethink the governance structure of water so we can all proactively address all issues and concerns on water sustainability in our country.

It is in this regard that I congratulate you all, particularly the leadership of PAWD, for organizing a timely and informative convention that focuses on addressing these various water concerns.

There are indeed multifarious concerns relative to water. Today, we are challenged by two interrelated and key water challenges. First, we all know that water is being mismanaged and unsustainably used. Secondly, leaders, policy-makers and managers are not living up to their promise of ensuring access to adequate water and sanitation services for all.

There simply are so many pressing issues hounding the water sector in our country; and there are no one-size-fits-all answers. But solutions do exist, and I am sure you have discussed these in your convention, and I am equally sure that you know that most of these solutions have to do with better policies, governance and management.

Good governance and effective management of all local water districts has become more imperative today more than ever.  As a little boy, I have always assumed that there would always be sufficient and cheap water to meet human needs within an environmentally sustainable scenario. I thought then that the vast waters in the seas and the oceans, and the rainfall that comes regularly was enough to sustain the needs of humankind. Unfortunately, it is now clear that this is simply not true.  As they say, water is the new oil.

A growing number of countries or regions are facing increasing competition for water resources by domestic, industrial and agricultural users – or between users and environmental needs. According to some studies, by 2030, 3.9 billion people will live in areas under severe water stress; mostly in South Asia and China. That is about one billion more people than today.  This increasing competition is in fact happening here in our own country, and in your own localities.

Governance is a key instrument to address the challenges of water resources. There is a need to understand such challenges when designing and implementing effective water policies, including the complex political economy of water policy reforms.

There is therefore a need for greater policy coherence, both horizontally and vertically among different institutions, and this is where PAWD can play a crucial role.

We must, for example, be able to or at least help identify governance aspects that can facilitate private sector engagement in the provision and financing of water services, as well as their efficient and effective delivery to all. We must be ready to consider the diversity of private actors involved in the water sector.  In fine, it is time for a major cultural change regarding our relation to water. We urgently need new policies, reforms, firmer commitments and innovation.

Whether we like it or not, that is the reality, and that is the challenge. With organizations like PAWD, and with individual local water districts who feel and read the pulse of every local community, I am confident that the effort to attain sound policy does have prime and inspired movers, and that is all of you.

And as you go about this daunting task, be assured that there will be a steady hand that will support you, specifically in your legal needs and concerns. The OGCC will continue to be a strong partner of all local water districts nationwide, and our lawyers are ever ready to heed your call for assistance.

I began my OGCC stint only in November last year and, just two days ago, I marked my 100th day in office. I do not intend to bore you with my 100-Day Report tonight, but let me just tell you one recent OGCC milestones and its significance to us.

Last December 1, the OGCC celebrated its 75th anniversary – our “75 Years of Service… Diamond Years of Upholding Justice.” Our Diamond Anniversary gave us an opportunity to make a serious introspection of what the office has become after 75 years. It made us ponder and ask: has the OGCC actually matured in scholarship and in service after 75 years? Have we actually become an epitome of a diamond jubilarian? Have we actually imbibed the characteristics of a diamond? What are these characteristics?

- In terms of hardness, durability and strength, diamond is the hardest substance found in nature.  It is four times harder than the next hardest mineral in the world (corundum - ruby and sapphire).

- In terms of clarity, diamond is the most transparent over a larger range of wavelengths, and is best compared to any other solid or liquid substance.

- In terms of thermal conductivity, diamond conducts heat better than anything, in fact five times better than the second best element, silver.

- In terms of melting point, diamond has the highest melting point at 3,820 degrees Kelvin.

- In terms of lattice density, the atoms of a diamond are packed closer together than are the atoms of any substance.

These are the same characteristics that we seek to imbibe. Yes, your OGCC has resolved to evolve – that it must be a diamond, and that it should constantly strive to attain the perfection of a diamond.

This is why, you now have a diamond OGCC that is stronger than ever; that will articulate your position more clearly than ever; that will not melt under pressure; and whose team of lawyers will work much closer together in the service of its clients.

We are your lawyers, and you are our valued clients.

Once again, thank you for inviting me here and I look forward to a stronger partnership with you in uplifting our country’s water sector.

Mabuhay kayong lahat at maraming salamat po!

OGCC’s Diamond Anniversary Message

(1 December 2010)

To my dear colleagues in the OGCC, good morning!

Today, the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) celebrates its 75 years of service, and Diamond years of upholding justice.75 na tayo, diamond na tayo. Pero, ang tanong, diamond nga ba tayo? Totoong diamanté nga ba tayo? Sapat na ba ang basta kuminang at maging makintab para masabing tayo’y  isang diamanté?

To celebrate diamond years is one thing, but to be able to actually claim that we have imbibed the characteristics of a diamond itself is another. So the question is, what does it take to be a diamond? How do we actually become a real diamond jubilarian?

Diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities. It is the ultimate gemstone, with few weaknesses and many strengths.

This should make us ponder and ask: does the OGCC, after 75 years, possess the same superlative qualities? Like a diamond, do we have many strengths and with only few weaknesses?

It is well known that diamond is the hardest substance found in nature.  Diamond is in fact four times harder than the next hardest natural mineral, corundum (sapphire and ruby). It is, therefore, not surprising that the term Diamond actually comes from the ancient Greek
αδάμας – adámas, which means "unbreakable". It is four times harder than the second hardest natural mineral.

Again, this makes us ponder and reflect: After 75 years, are we at least four times better, four times more efficient, four times more competent than any other legal service provider in the government? Are we unbreakable and truly united in pursuing our office's mission and vision?

Indeed, have we in fact somehow measured up to the characteristics and attributes of a diamond? Let us go over some of these attributes one by one.

In terms of hardness, Diamond measures four times harder than sapphire. As I said, it is the hardest substance. Has 75 years really hardened the resolve of each and very member of the OGCC family to pursue its mandate with vigor? Have we all been hardened and molded by the ennobling values that inspired the creation of this office?

In terms of clarity, do you know that a Diamond is transparent over a larger range of wavelengths (from the ultraviolet into the far infrared)? Do you know that a diamond's transparency is the best compared to any other solid or liquid substance? After 75 years, are we transparent in our dealings with our clients? After 75 years, are we transparent to the Filipino people who are the real stakeholders of all government corporations?

In terms of thermal conductivity, Diamond conducts heat better than anything - five times better than the second best element, Silver! Are we, after 75 years, five times more efficient, five times more hardworking, or at least five times better than when this office started in 1935?

In terms of melting point, Diamond has the highest melting point at 3,820 degrees Kelvin. With this we ask: Do we easily melt under pressure? Have we allowed our idealism to melt with the passage of time?

In terms of lattice density, the atoms of Diamond are packed closer together than are the atoms of any other substance. This is a unique characteristic.  But have we actually developed this? After 75 years, and specifically for most of you, after 10 to 24, or even 30 years in the OGCC, have you grown closer together in the service of our clients and of one another? Are we, like the atoms of a diamond, so closely packed together to withstand the challenges of our work?

It is easy to say, happy diamond anniversary! But we have to really understand what it means to be a diamond. In our diamond anniversary today, let us ponder upon its unique qualities and strive to achieve them. Today, let us endeavor to henceforth become diamonds.

Maraming salamat po!

DBP Bulwagan ng Diwang Pilipino, DBP Building
Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
1 December 2011

- Raoul C. Creencia -
PAGCLAW Chairman
Government Corporate Counsel


Hon. Chairman of the Governance Commission for GOCCs, Dean Cesar L. Villanueva, GCG Commissioners Rainier Butalid and Angela Ignacio, PAGCLAW President Ricardo Arlanza, Directors, Trustees and Officers of various government corporations, the hardworking lawyers in the government corporate sector, guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon!

Today, the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) is 76 years old. It was then a small corporate counsel division under the Department of Justice (DOJ).  But its humble beginnings did not stymie the likes of the late former Senator and Supreme Court Justice Ramon Diokno from serving as its head.  In 1950, it was later formally known and referred to as the OGCC, pursuant to Executive Order 392.  In 1959, Republic Act 2327, generally referred to as the Charter of OGCC, was signed into law. This was later amended in 1963 through Republic Act 3838, defining the powers of the OGCC as statutory legal counsel of all GOCCs. It also placed all GOCC legal departments under its control and supervision. The Administrative Code of 1987 further reinforced the unique role of the OGCC as statutory counsel of all GOCCs, their subsidiaries, other corporate offspring, government financial institutions, government corporate entities, and government acquired asset corporations – which I collectively refer to as GOCCs.

The OGCC has since undergone various changes over the past decades, but its metamorphosis is far from over. Amid reforms being undertaken in the government corporate sector, the OGCC continues to be more responsive to the growing and changing needs of the GOCCs. Today, the OGCC’s new Charter is pending in Congress which, when passed into law, and hopefully soon, shall further strengthen the OGCC's role and enable it to better serve its client corporations.

I joined the OGCC exactly thirteen months ago, or in November 2010. Since then, a “back to basics” approach was adopted, applying a simple ABC Formula. What is the ABC Formula? Able Lawyers, Better Service and Clearer Rules.

Conformably with its Able Lawyers program, the OGCC has conducted various in-house lectures and training to OGCC lawyers and staff.  Moreover, to date, through the Institute of Public Corporate Governance (IPCG), and in partnership with PAGCLAW, two rounds of 36-unit MCLE courses for government corporate lawyers have been completed, with many more scheduled in the coming months. Also included of course is an OGCC in-house MCLE program.

Better Service.  The OGCC continues to work hard and improve its service to its clients. Thirteen months ago, there were more than one hundred backlog and pending requests for opinion and contract reviews. About three months later, this backlog was trimmed down to zero. Concededly, there have been slippages in the past couple of months, but never exceeding 10% of the total volume, compared to a much higher backlog percentage in the past several years.

Clearer Rules.  Various memorandum circulars governing internal matters, policies and procedures have been issued, including the standard convention for OGCC pleadings, opinion and contract review, as well as the rational guidelines on the sourcing, collection and distribution of assessments and fees. Aside from this, the OGCC has also revised its implementing rules and regulations.  In fact, today, we formally introduce and distribute these 2011 Revised Rules. As will later be explained by AGCC Bel Derayunan, the revised rules shall emphasize, among others, the OGCC’s various regular and special duties, the procedure for sending requests and referral of cases, as well as the arbitration rules in cases of conflict between and among government corporations.

As the OGCC celebrates its 76th Anniversary today, we stand with you and by you, our clients and our fellow lawyers in the government corporate sector. We are with you, ever more strongly committed to perform our mandate as your counsel and legal service provider.

It will be recalled that during the first assembly five months ago, we adopted the theme - "PAGCLAW Amid Reforms in the Government Corporate Sector".  Today’s Year-End Forum on Good Governance is a continuation of our collective pursuit to answer, in our humble way, the clarion call for reforms in the government corporate sector. What better way to do this than to support, partner with, and sync all our efforts according to the policies and guidelines that will be laid down by the newly created Governance Commission for GOCCs.

Reforming the GOCCs, with approximately $141 billion in assets, and whose activities greatly impact the country’s economic life, and whose presence is everywhere -- from energy to ecozones, from banking and finance to gaming, from infrastructure to water, from transportation to communication -- is indeed a herculean task.  A huge part of that task is now on the shoulders of the GCG.  This is why, Chairperson Villanueva, we would like you to know that the OGCC and the lawyers in the GOCCs are very much behind you and the entire GCG, as you initiate the timely and needed reforms in the government corporate sector.

The GCG can be assured that we shall always view our work as lawyers in the larger context of government corporate reforms. As I have underscored during our General Assembly last July, the legal advice of the OGCC shall always have due regard to the big picture across agency and portfolio boundaries because we believe that is the way our clients will assess our advice and judge its usefulness and wisdom.

Before I end, allow me to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your presence, you have indeed made OGCC’s 76th Anniversary a truly meaningful one.  To our counterpart lawyers in the GOCCs, let us continue to work more closely together so that the government corporate sector will have the soundest and best legal advice and legal support it can ever have.

Colleagues, let us be the best lawyers we can be in the service of our country.

Maraming salamat po at Mabuhay tayong lahat!


Copyright 2009 Office of the Government Corporate Counsel
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