Press Release
February 2, 2011


The Office of the Ombudsman should immediately scuttle the plea bargain deal struck between state prosecutors and former military comptroller and ex-General Carlos Garcia who was accused of plunder based on the direct knowledge and testimonies of two witnesses who appeared in congressional hearings, Senator Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.

At the same time, Drilon, a former Justice secretary, said state prosecutors should present former Armed Forces budget officer George Rabusa and former state auditor Heidi Mendoza as witnesses for the prosecution.

"These testimonies obviously were not present when they entered into that plea bargaining agreement. With these testimonies now, there is reason to rescind the agreement and simply submit the new evidence in court and proceed with the trial for plunder," said Drilon.

Drilon went on to say that there is "no reason" for Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to say that the evidence is weak in arriving at a plea bargain deal with Garcia that in effect reduced the former military general's plunder case of at least P300 million to a lesser offense of direct bribery and violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Law.

"In fact, the evidence is strengthened a hundred times by the testimonies of these people. Therefore, they should withdraw from that plea bargaining, rescind it, proceed with the trial and present other witnesses," Drilon added.

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