Justice Sec. Leila de Lima criticizes Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on plea bargaining agreement in military plunder case, Gutierrez says "Don&r

24 Oras video


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima criticized Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez yesterday for entering a plea bargaining agreement with former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, who is currently facing a plunder case.

According to 24 Oras, Gutierrez said on Tuesday, "I stand by the decision I made in approving the plea bargaining agreement... (There) was a recommendation that we do not have enough evidence... to convict Major Garcia."

In contrast, de Lima said the agreement is against the law and said she does not understand why the Ombudsman insisted the case against Garcia is weak. "If we have an Ombudsman who does not seem to realize (that) public funds are involved in that case, then we have a problem," 24 Oras quoted her as saying. "I also saw how the Ombudsman firmly justified the plea bargaining agreement. Mayro’n lang ibang punto na nakikita kong medyo disturbing (There are some points that I find a bit disturbing)."

Sought for a comment, Gutierrez told 24 Oras, "Bago ka dumaldal Secretary de Lima, alamin mo muna kung anong mga pangyayari. Hawak mo ba ang ebidensya? Magtrabaho ka na lang diyan sa Department of Justice at ’wag mo nang pakialaman ang aming ginagawa sa Office of the Ombudsman."

("Before you speak Secretary de Lima, know all the facts first. Do you have the evidence? Just do your job at the Department of Justice and don’t meddle with the affairs of the Office of the Ombudsman.")

In response, de Lima told 24 Oras, "Nagtatrabaho po ako. (I am doing my job.) When I say those things, that’s in accordance with my work... I don’t want to dignify comments like that. So unprofessional."


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