Press Release
June 8, 2011

Blue Ribbon Committee stands by its findings - Guingona

Senator TG Guingona, Chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee, today said that the "Committee stands by its findings that a betrayal of public trust was committed when the plea bargaining agreement was entered into between the Office of the Ombudsman and (former) Maj. General Carlos Garcia."

Guingona made the statement during his sponsorship speech for the Committee Report on the Plea Bargaining Agreement between the Government Prosecutors and former Major General Carlos Garcia.

It will be recalled that the plea bargaining agreement allowed Garcia to return only P135 Million out of approximately P303 Million in questioned funds.

It also allowed Garcia to plead guilty to lesser offenses which have substantially lower penalties than the original charge of plunder and money laundering.

The Sandiganbayan had also recently issued a resolution approving the plea bargaining agreement. In his speech, Guingona stressed that "the Sandiganbayan's decision to uphold the propriety of the plea bargaining agreement does not change the Committee's findings on the Garcia plea bargaining agreement."

Guingona, however, said he remained confident that "there is still room for the justices to correct themselves to ensure that they are not instrumental to the cuddling of officials who betray the public's trust".

Guingona also highlighted that "actions on the committee report's recommendations are being actively pursued."

Among them is the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, which will ensure transparency and accountability in government dealings.

Guingona also filed a bill on plea bargaining agreement which seeks to address the issue of lack of consent of the offended party in plea bargain deals. Guingona is also looking into strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Law.

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