Press Release
January 27, 2011


Drilon: This agreement indicates allegedly that a total of P135,433,387.84 was surrendered. Is that a correct reflection of the agreement?

Atty. Wendell Barreras-Sulit (Special Prosecutor): Yes we admit that that is what appears in the plea bargaining agreement.

Drilon: How the agreement enumerates the P135.4 million. First, what I know is that the dollar-exchange rate is fixed at P56.41. For example, a cash deposit in the sum or evaluation of the Trump Park Tower Condominium at $765,000 is placed at an equivalent peso of P43,155,180 using the exchange rate of P56.41. The agreement in plea bargaining is undated, but it would appear to have been signed by the Ombudsman on February 25, 2010.

Sulit: [February] 26, your honor.

Drilon: Well, I am looking at the bar code here of the Office of the Ombudsman. It states 2-25-2010. That's the bar code and I assume that this was the date when it was signed by the Ombudsman. Now, I checked the exchange rate on that date--February 25, 2010. The exchange rate is P46.153, as against an exchange rate that you used of P56.412. The same exchange rate was used all over. We have the Bank of the Philippine Islands--$23,799; Banco de Oro--$0.69; Landbank of the Philippines--$674,276.133 with a total of $728,066.32. Again, the peso equivalent is P41,071,677.24 at an exchange rate of P56.412.

The same with Citibank account--$201,166.08 at an exchange rate of P56.412, peso equivalent P11,348.180. Citibank--$44,354.86 at an exchange rate of P56.412 with peso equivalent of P2,502,146.

The first question is, why did you use P56.412 as an exchange rate when the exchange rate at that date was P46.153. Can I ask General Garcia?

Garcia: The reference of the list of properties was based on the information attachment that were filed (inaudible).

Drilon: I am talking of the exchange rate.

Garcia: Like for the Trump, the $765,000 cost was converted into peso at that point in time, and that was the cost included in the charge sheet. So all the costings that were attached to the charge sheet were the ones used in the preparation of the plea bargain.

Drilon: ...because if you are going to use the exchange rate at the time the agreement was signed, the dollar amounts were overstated by about P17.8 million. Would you agree with that?

Sulit: I agree with that your honor.

Drilon: What was the basis of... evaluation of $765,000 of the Trump Park Tower?

Sulit: That was the acquisition cost your honor presented in court.

Drilon: Also, on the personal properties, I noticed that the vehicles here were anywhere from 7 years old to 17 years old--and the amounts stated were based on what valuation?

Sulit: Also based on acquisition cost as per documents presented in court and supporting papers on the resolution of the Honorable Ombudsman Marcelo.

Drilon: Again, insofar as real estate is concerned, in Iloilo, 4 properties allegedly with a value of P10,699,320 was indicated. How was this arrived at and what was the basis of the evaluation?

Sulit: That was also the acquisition cost based on the fact finding investigation then headed by Ombudsman Marcelo.

Drilon: Why was the P50 million not part of the plea bargain that was mentioned here earlier by Ombudsman Marcelo?

Marcelo: The accounts were withdrawn by Gen. Garcia after I issued a preventive suspension against him. Based on the AMLC investigation, if I remember correctly, between P50-70 million were withdrawn. There was no restitution that was required.

Drilon: Why was there no restitution?

Sulit: At the time the information was filed, those accounts were already withdrawn, and even in the preliminary investigation and the fact finding investigation, the team of former Ombudsman never established a paper trail as to where those money went.

Drilon: But these were in fact withdrawn?

Sulit: They were in fact withdrawn.

Drilon: In other words, if you agree that they were in fact withdrawn, the amount is floating somewhere?

Sulit: The amount is floating somewhere your honor.

Drilon: Why was it not included in the part of the restitution?

Sulit: We may not have included it in the plea bargaining agreement but there's still a chance to get them back in the forfeiture cases filed in the 4th Division of the Sandiganbayan.

Drilon: Wasn't it the best way to recover this that you make it part of the plea bargain that that P50 million be restituted? Because the defendant here was practically pleading that he be allowed to enter into this plea bargain in order that he can be released from detention. Why did you not insist that the P50 million be restituted?

Sulit: In the plea bargaining, in this bargaining... win-win solution...

Drilon: My dear, you know this is not a collective bargaining agreement. This is a question of public interest. Public funds are involved. It is not a win-win situation. Come on, is that your attitude as prosecutor?

Sulit: No your honors. Of course that is not our attitude...

Drilon: This is not a collective bargaining agreement as held by the Supreme Court in these cases. This is not a matter of bargaining.

Sulit: We really wanted to protect the interest of the state...

Drilon: So what do you mean of win-win situation? You mean Garcia will win?

Sulit: No your honors. Perhaps we even won if we get the conviction in two criminal cases and with the perpetual disqualification to hold public office, so he will have a criminal record and he will have to return all of the properties that the prosecution has proven in court.

Drilon: So why did you not insist on the restitution of this P50 million which you knew was withdrawn?

Sulit: Perhaps your honor at the stage of the plea bargaining you can talk to the prosecutors here that first handled it.

Drilon: Why? Did you not sign the plea bargain?

Sulit: I signed your honor. There must be other reasons why we cannot get back the money anymore from Gen. Garcia. So what we're trying to get are all the properties and all the monies and bank accounts that we have proven in court and which we have documented...

Drilon: The money was floating around somewhere. You could have insisted for public interest that the P50 million should have been restituted and let Mr. Garcia find ways and means to have it restituted.

Now, Mr. Garcia, your sons were charged sometime in 2009 for this $100,000...

Garcia: Yes your honor.

Drilon: And they were required to post bail?

Garcia: Yes your honor.

Drilon: $2 million in total?

Garcia: That is not right. The bail given for my 3 sons was $25,000 plus 5 persons that would attest that they will produce my sons... so the cash value is $25,000 that were sourced from the different friends and relatives of my sons.

Drilon: And the remaining $150,000?

Garcia: It was covered by the signature bonds. 5 persons gave signature bonds.

Drilon: Were the signature bonds secured by any real estate or any...?

Garcia: No your honor. It's just plain signature bond.

Drilon: That's the same case with your wife Clarita?

Garcia: Yes your honor. My wife posted $20,000.

Drilon: So the total cash bond is about $70,000?

Garcia: $90,000 because I have 3 sons, plus each member of the family has 5 signature bonds.

 2ND PART OF Interpellation of Sen. Franklin Drilon ON GARCIA PLEA BARGAIN

Drilon: ...the Banco de Oro has only $0.69 left. There must have been a bigger amount here that is why I want to see from the transactions that were paid on this account to see what amounts of money that transferred this accounts?

Sulit: The Anti-Money Laundering Council has the complete records of the accounts because we based our forfeiture on the frozen assets and accounts...

Drilon: You have no copies?

Sulit: We have your honor but as to the withdrawals, I can't promise you your honor.

Drilon: How about the withdrawals that were indicated in the bank records?

Sulit: We did not bring them with us today your honor.

Drilon: But you have copies?

Sulit: The prosecutor assured me that he has copies.

Drilon: May we request that you submit it to the committee, and also since the AMLC is here, can you also submit to us complete records of all of these bank accounts?

Vicente Aquino (AMLC executive director): Yes your honor.

Drilon: What about in these US banks, we have also the transactions on these accounts?

Sulit: In the US banks, we do not have the complete records of the bank documents. We can give you the documents provided to us by the US Department of Justice.

Drilon: But I want to make clear that I want records of the transactions from Day 1 that the accounts were opened.

Aquino: We have those records. We will turn them over.

Drilon: May I request that all of the bank accounts--peso and dollar--that the records of these be submitted to this committee because I'm interested to know how much money really passed through these accounts, at least to identify the amounts that was not included in this agreement and was not restituted. Can we have them? Gen. Garcia, would you be willing to submit your records of these US dollar accounts in the United States from the day these accounts were opened?

Garcia: Your honor I don't have any record of these accounts.

Drilon: You don't have records of these?

Garcia: Yes your honor. The information was relayed to the Ombudsman by the Justice Attache of the US Embassy.

Drilon: But are these your accounts?

Garcia: It's not my account your honor.

Drilon: That's not your account...?

Garcia: Account of my wife and son who are working in the US.

Drilon: You mean your wife and your children accumulated this much?

Garcia: That's what the report mentioned.

Drilon: You said that this not belong to you...

Garcia: Those are the accounts of my wife and my son.

Drilon: Your wife and your son?

Garcia: Yes your honor.

Drilon: And what kind of incomes do they earn in the US?

Garcia: My son who works in New York is a fashion designer, whatever.

Drilon: And how much income does he earn?

Garcia: I'm not aware your honor. My wife is a registered nurse in the US.

Drilon: And who's account is 80606060? That's $201,166.108. You said it is not your account. The money did not come from you?

Garcia: It's under the account of my wife and son. I don't have the detail your honor, but definitely that was the one reported by the US Embassy on an account in New York.

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