Press Release
May 10, 2011


Two questions for the Sandiganbayan

Yesterday, we got hold of a copy of the resolution of the Sandiganbayan Second Division approving the Plea Bargain Agreement between the Office of the Ombudsman and former Armed Force comptroller Carlos Garcia, thereby absolving the latter of the crime of plunder.

I would like to say that the move of anti-graft court is both lamentable and puzzling. I support the move by the Solicitor General to question this decision. I will question it before our People.

The decision is lamentable because it has, in effect, paved the way for the consummation of the most controversial and anomalous "pabaon" in the graft-ridden system in the Armed Forces of the Philippines which is now the subject of the Senate investigation.

This is puzzling. As far as we can recall, Mr. Garcia has so far miserably failed to prove during our investigation the sources of his vast financial resources - part of which has dangled before the Office of the Ombudsman as settlement in the Plea Bargain Agreement. Given his failure to explain, we can only surmise that those hundreds of millions belong to the People.

I have two questions for the honorable members of the Sandiganbayan Second Division.

First, can they in conscience say that the P135 million they have now allowed General Garcia to "return" is money that belongs to him? What about the P165 million they have now allowed him to keep? Do they in conscience believe that this is his money, too ?

Second, may I ask why the honorable justices, in writing the decision, went out of their way to lambast the Media and the People for their adverse opinion and perception concerning both General Garcia's plunder case and Plea Bargain Agreement? Was it not sufficient for them to have allowed General Garcia to pocket P165 million in "pabaon"? Why the need to fault the Filipino for raging mad against this whole scheme?

The move by the Sandigan is a major setback in our People's bid to recover their money. It is also a major setback to our quest to rid the AFP of the culture of corruption. Worse, the Court may have sent a signal to unscrupulous elements that they can get away with this "pabaon" scheme.

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