The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is prepared to turnover the files and transcripts of its investigation on the plea bargain agreement between state prosecutors and former Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia to aid the newly appointed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales in her review of the controversial deal.
“We are pleased to learn that the new Ombudsman is revisiting the anomalous plea bargain deal. This gives us hope that the irregular transaction could be voided as recommended by the Blue Ribbon Committee. And we hope to see Maj. Gen. Garcia back to jail where he truly belongs,” said Bukidnon Senator TG Guingona, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee.
“We are also hopeful that the findings and recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Committee will be considered by the new Ombudsman in her review,” he added.
The Blue Ribbon Committee said in its initial committee report that the plea bargain agreement (PBA) was void for the following reasons:
1) The PBA has no basis. The Office of the Special Prosecutors initially claimed that the evidence is weak, but later on, they assert that evidence is strong.
2) There is lack of full restitution. By practice, and according to the Sandiganbayan’s internal rules, a PBA should require restitution. It is worthy to note that the PBA of the Office of the Ombudsman with Charlie “Atong” Ang, there was full restitution. In the case of Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, he was allowed to pocket P165 million in “pabaon.”
3) There is lack of consent of the offended party, as required by the Rules of Court. In this case, the immediate and direct offended party is the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“We are encouraged by Ombudsman Morales’ action and we believe this signals that Blue Ribbon investigations will now actually result in cases filed against erring public officials.”
He added that the Blue Ribbon Committee remains committed to investigations with integrity and this could only be done with close coordination and cooperation among relevant branches of the government.