Press Release
February 14, 2011


State prosecutors involved in the plea bargaining agreement that reduced former military comptroller Carlos Garcia's plunder case to direct bribery and facilitating money laundering are liable under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, amid a string of charges that they could face for prosecutorial negligence, Senator Franklin Drilon said Monday.

Drilon, a former Justice and Executive secretary, said the decision of the government prosecutors to arrive at the plea bargaining agreement with Garcia despite strong evidence constitutes "corrupt practices" and are punishable under Republic Act 3019.

"They should be hailed to court immediately and sacked for this grossly negligent agreement and for causing undue injury to the government," Drilon strongly remarked.

Drilon said that the prosecutors violated Section 3 (E) of RA 3019 for "causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence..."

They also violated Section 3 (G) of the law for "entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby."

Once cases have been filed, Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez should "inhibit" from the investigation because she was the one who approved the plea deal, Drilon said, adding that the Justice secretary should be "right person" to prove if indeed the prosecutors have committed abuses, lapses and negligence.

Drilon also warned that the plea deal, even if it has yet to be approved by the Sandiganbayan anit-graft court, in effect dismissed the non-bailable plunder charges because Garcia was allowed to plead to a lesser offense of direct bribery and money laundering and post bail.

The senator earlier said the prosecutors should be charged with administrative cases for mishandling Garcia's plunder case.

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