Friday, December 17, 2010

General Garcia out on bail. Government bungling sends a wrong signal in the fight against graft and corruption

This is beginning to get really, really disappointing. 

Former Major General Carlos Garcia, AFP comptroller involved in various anomalies, is now a free man. And you know how?

Public prosecutors entered into a deal with Garcia's camp. That deal was used by the Sandiganbayan to allow Garcia to plea bargain. Garcia has entered guilty pleas for the lesser and bailable offenses of direct bribery and violation of Section 4-B of the Anti-Money Laundering Act instead of a heavier charge of plunder, which is punishable by death. 

Garcia is being made to account for 300 plus million pesos. The plea bargain, public prosecutors said, allowed government to recover 135 million pesos immediately. 

What idiots!

Government has just finished presenting strong pieces of evidence against Garcia when these prosecutors decided illogically to present the idea of Garcia pleading for a lesser offense. This is a monumental blunder!!

Based on court records, the government position is strong compared with Garcia's defense. Why did the government allowed this plea bargain? 

Is it because Garcia has lots of friends inside Malacanang, including one relative who worked for the campaign of President Aquino?

Garcia posted a 60,000 bail. He is now a free man....momentarily. 

What message is the government sending to us and to our children? That it is just good for someone to steal 300 million pesos. You can enter into a plea bargain anyway, and part government with your loot. 

Some months ago, the Aquino administration promoted Thomas Rentoy. Rentoy, if you remember, is one of the Euro generals who got caught in an embarrassing international incident in Moscow.

Rentoy was given his one-star rank despite being charged with numerous crimes, including money laundering and graft and corruption in 2008. Rentoy, sources say, is very close to those inside the Aquino administration, especially former generals.