MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has sentenced former military comptroller, retired Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, to serve up to 14 years in jail and pay more than PHP407 million on bribery and money laundering-related charges.
In its eight-page decision promulgated on July 5 and written by Associate Justice Oscar Herrera Jr., the anti-graft court found Garcia guilty of direct bribery and sentenced him to four to eight years in prison and a fine of PHP406.3 million or three times the value of the gifts he received.
The tribunal also sentenced him to four to six years imprisonment and fined him PHP1.5 million for the separate charge of "facilitating money laundering."
Garcia had entered into a plea bargaining agreement with the Office of the Ombudsman in 2010 where he agreed to plead guilty to the lesser offense of direct bribery instead of the original charge of plunder and to "facilitating money laundering" instead of money laundering.
The charges arose from the wealth he accumulated from 1993 until his retirement in 2004 when he served as deputy chief of staff for comptrollership.
Likewise named in the charges were his wife Clarita D. Garcia and children Ian Carl D. Garcia, Juan Paulo D. Garcia, and Timothy Mark D. Garcia.
The prosecutors said Garcia acquired funds, landholdings, and other real and personal properties "by receiving commissions, gifts, shares, percentages, kickbacks, or other forms of pecuniary benefits, like shopping money or gratitude money" in connection with government contracts.
As part of the plea-bargaining agreement, he was directed by the Sandiganbayan in 2010 to transfer the properties covered in the agreement of PHP135 million worth of cash and real and personal properties in favor of the state.
The Supreme Court in September 2020 dismissed a petition filed by the Solicitor General questioning the plea bargaining agreement between Garcia and the Office of the Ombudsman.
The court also ordered that alias warrants be issued against Garcia's families with the cases archived until upon their arrest or voluntary surrender.
Associate Justices Michael Frederick L. Musngi and Arthur O. Malabaguio concurred. (PNA)