Sandiganbayan approves Carlos Garcia’s plea bargain deal, says evidence "not enough" to convict him of plunder of P303-M
(SPOT.ph) The Sandiganbayan Second Division approved the plea bargain deal between former military comptroller Carlos Garcia and the Office of the Ombudsman over Garcia’s P303-million plunder case yesterday, reports Inquirer.net. The anti-graft court said Garcia complied with the agreement’s conditions: plead guilty to the two lesser offenses of direct bribery and facilitating money laundering, and transfer about P135 million of his family’s assets to the government.
In its 22-page resolution, Sandiganbayan found the prosecution’s testimonial and documentary evidence "weak" and "not enough" to convict Garcia of plunder, reports GMA News Online.
The Sandiganbayan said it was not saying that Garcia and his family acquired all their wealth from legitimate sources, reports Inquirer.net. However, the court said that with the prosecution’s evidence, the case would have led to Garcia’s acquittal.
According to Inquirer.net, the case built against Garcia and his family consisted mostly of Clarita Garcia’s written statements on her husband’s source of wealth and current Audit commissioner Heidi Mendoza’s testimony on irregularities in military transactions.
Inquirer.net quoted the court, "The accused is innocent may be unpopular. But, we would rather tell the truth and be unpopular, than be a superstar because we satisfied public opinion by creating half-truths and distortions."
The Sandiganbayan will now sentence Garcia for direct bribery and facilitating money laundering but this has not yet been scheduled, reports Inquirer.net.
In 2009, Garcia’s youngest son Timothy Mark "Tim" Garcia, said to be a publicist for Marc by Marc Jacobs, was put on house arrest at the luxurious Trump Plaza in New York, after being charged with allegedly helping his father hide illegally acquired assets. He made headlines that year for accessorizing his security ankle monitor with a Chanel ankle bracelet.
Tim and his brothers Ian Carl and Juan Paulo, and their mother Clarita will no longer face plunder charges, following the approval of the plea bargain deal, according to The Daily Tribune and Journal Online.
For more on this story, log on to Inquirer.net, GMA News Online, The Daily Tribune and Journal Online.