Senators want Garcia plea bargain appealed

May 8, 2011

Jonathan de Santos
Sun Star Online
May 9, 2011

MANILA — Two senators called on the Office of the Solicitor General Monday to appeal a Sandiganbayan decision approving a controversial plea bargain with a dismissed general accused of plunder.

Senator Francis Pangilinan called the decision allowing dismissed major general Carlos Garcia to plead guilty to lesser crimes a huge embarrassment and a blow to the fight against corruption.

He added the decision should be appealed immediately.

Senator Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice, meanwhile, said the decision was “extremely” disappointing.

“I, together with 83 percent of Filipinos surveyed by Pulse Asia, strongly believe that they should be tried and be made to pay for their crimes,” he said.

In exchange for having his plunder charge junked, Garcia agreed to transfer around P150 million of P302 million he has been accused of saying.

The Office of the Ombudsman was criticized at Senate hearings for agreeing to the deal.

A draft report of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee recommended then ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez’s impeachment and the filing of charged against special prosecutors for “lack of prosecutorial zeal.”

Escudero said the Department of Justice and whoever will be appointed the next ombudsman should pursue the case against Garcia.

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