Govt lawyers take Garcia bargain to High Court


SMARTING from losses in the plea bargaining agreement between retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia and the Office of the Ombusdman, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) took the case to the Supreme Court, asked it to deny the agreement.

The state law firm in a petition for certiorari, a copy of which was furnished to the Sandiganbayan, asked the High Court to enjoin the Sandiganbayan from continuing with the promulgation of judgment.

The OSG also said that the Court should prevent the Sandiganbayan from allowing the retired military comptroller from posting bail, now that he pleaded to lesser offenses of direct bribery and facilitating money laundering.

“Unless Sandiganbayan is restrained, there is a clear possibility that it will render judgment and thereby render the present petition moot and academic to the grave damage and prejudice of the Republic and the Filipino people,” Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and OSG lawyers wrote in the review petition.

The OSG in May 2011 moved to intervene in Garcia’s case, but the Sandiganbayan ruled against them. They also appealed to nullify the plea bargaining but they lost. The OSG’s motion for reconsideration was also thrown out.

State lawyers said that since they are entitled to relief, they are now asking the Supreme Court to rein over the bargaining agreement and declare it “null and void for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion.”

Garcia was released in December 2010 after he posted bail in the lesser offenses. In September 2011, Garcia was ordered arrested after the Judge Advocate General’s Office convicted him of violations of Articles of War 96 and 97 related to his untruthful declarations in his 2002 and 2003 statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.

The OSG now said that Garcia must remain in detention in view of “strong evidence of guilt” when he pleaded guilty to the lesser offenses.

The OSG also said that, the High Court should remand the case back to the Sandiganbayan and order its re-raffle from the anti-graft court’s Second Division to other division “for further proceedings.”


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