MANILA, Philippines – Though he has benefitted from a plea bargain affirmed by the Supreme Court, the family of retired major general Carlos Garcia is not covered by that agreement.
This decision of the Sandiganbayan means the wife and three sons of the former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller remained charged with plunder and money laundering.
The Sandiganbayan’s Second Division denied Garcia’s appeal to drop the charges against his family. The anti-graft court also said its order for the arrest of Garcia’s wife Clarita and children Ian Carl, Juan Paulo, and Timothy Mark stands.
Garcia’s wife and sons are at large.
His sons were arrested in 2003 at a US airport for smuggling dollars, resulting in the plunder charge against him.
In the plunder case filed against Garcia in 2009, he was accused of amassing P303.27 million ill-gotten wealth while he was in the military.
However, the former military top brass was able to reach a plea bargain agreement, pleading guilty to the lesser offenses of direct bribery and facilitating money laundering.
Instead of life imprisonment, which was the penalty for plunder, Garcia was sentenced eight to 14 years imprisonment and fined P407 million. Also as part of his plea agreement, he previously surrendered P135.433 million to the government.
Despite these developments, the Sandiganbayan said in a 13-page motion issued September 7, 2022, Garcia’s family were not covered by the plea bargaining agreement between him and the prosecution, and they remained charged under the original offenses.
“Movant’s wife and children…, who are his co-accused, remain charged in both criminal cases. They are at-large and have not even been arraigned. Nowhere in the Plea Bargaining Agreement …is there any declaration that they be dropped as accused in the two criminal cases,” said the Sandiganbayan
The ruling was penned by Associate Justice Oscar C. Herrera Jr. with Associate Justices Michael Frederick L. Musngi and Arthur C. Malabaguio concurring. – Rappler.com