Press Release
June 16, 2011

Special Prosecutor Wendell Sulit must explain the sloppy handling
of the multi-billion peso tax credit scam cases

In the light of published reports about the recent decision of Malacañang to place Special Prosecutor Wendell Sulit under preventive suspension in connection with her role in the controversial plea-bargain deal with former Major General Carlos Garcia, I call upon the Office of the President to also initiate an investigation on her role in the alleged mishandling of the plunder charges against Spouses Faustino and Gloria Chingkoe, among others, in connection with the multi-billion tax credit scam cases.

Several witnesses in the tax credit scam cases against the Spouses Faustino and Gloria Chingkoe have approached my office. They have complained against what they claim to be the official negligence if not the criminal connivance of Special Prosecutor Wendell Sulit when her office allowed and/or failed act to prevent the Chingkoe spouses from traveling abroad despite the filing of plunder charges against them in 2009.

I have reviewed their claims and I am convinced that Special Prosecutor Sulit and her subordinates have a lot of explaining to do. Indeed, it appears that Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has failed to prevent the Chingkoe spouses, the principal accused in the 5.2 billion tax credit scam cases from going abroad despite the plunder charges against them, thus, virtually allowing them to flee the country.

More importantly, Special Prosecutor Sulit has since failed to act to bring said accused to justice. It appears that instead of prosecuting the cases against the said accused in absencia, which is permitted in cases where the accused have jumped bail, Prosecutor Sulit has apparently sat on and neglected the cases of said accused. The witnesses claim that the OSP did not even move for the cancellation of bail or the issuance of arrest warrants against the accused. Strangely, even the 4th Division of the Sandiganbayan has apparently suspended the trial of the case since 2009.

Likewise, the Special Prosecutor Sulit has apparently done nothing to try to bring said fugitives to justice. The OSP could have asked the courts or the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel the passports of the Chingkoe spouses to force them to return to the country. Likewise, said Office could have caused the accused to be reported to the Interpol as fugitives from justice. The OSP could have also initiated the extradition of the said accused. Apparently, no such efforts have been made.

I am greatly disturbed and gravely concerned by this apparent pattern of action of the OSP of going easy on the accused in multi-million and multi-billion cases. It sends the wrong signal that those who steal in the millions or billions could get away with their crimes and even get to keep the money they stole to boot.

Since the Special Prosecutor and her people are all presidential appointees, I call upon the Office of the President to thoroughly investigate this matter and file the appropriate administrative and/or criminal cases, if warranted.

I likewise call upon the Supreme Court to look into why the Sandiganbayan has apparently acquiesced into the irregular handling of the tax credit scam cases to forestall the necessity of initiating a Senate investigation into the matter.

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