Garcia brothers hauled back to jail

By HENNI ESPINOSA, ABS-CBN North America Bureau-San Francisco

Posted at Mar 10 2009 08:17 AM | Updated as of Mar 11 2009 03:15 PM

A United States district court judge has overturned an earlier decision ordering two sons of former military comptroller Carlos Garcia back to jail.

US District Court Judge Thelton Henderson on Friday (March 6) overturned a March 5 decision by Chief Magistrate Judge James Larson not to detain Ian Carl Depakakibo Garcia, 30, Juan Paolo Depakakibo Garcia, 27, on a US$1 million bail bond each.

Larson had earlier said that he did not want to detain the brothers because he did not want to disrupt their normal lives as US citizens..

The Garcia brothers are facing bulk cash smuggling for attempting to slip US$100,000 into the United States from the Philippines in 2003.

Jack Gillund, spokesperson of the United States Attorney's Office in Northern California, told this reporter that after the arraignment, US Attorney Philip Kearney "filed an appeal to keep the Garcia brothers in custody, and won."

Gillund added that Kearney asked for a "stay on the night of the Garcia brothers' arraignment and they were kept in jail until the release order was officially overturned the next day."

Juan Paolo's counsel, Julia Mezhinsky Jayne, said the brothers will be kept in custody pending their detention hearing on March 12 before Magistrate Judge Edward Chen at 9:30 am. The Garcia brothers are also scheduled to attend a hearing on bulk cash smuggling before Judge Phyllis Hamilton on March 18 at 2:30 pm.

Their father, Carlos Garcia has been found guilty in the Philippines for perjury for falsely declaring his assets and liabilities in 2000. The former Philippine military comptroller is now serving a two-year sentence.

The former comptroller, his wife Clarita and three sons including Juan Paolo and Ian Carl, were charged with plunder in the Philippines for amassing P303 million pesos or US$6 million dollars of ill-gotten wealth.

Caught in political play

Ian Carl's counsel, Richard Tamor, said the Garcia brothers are caught in a political play between Philippine and US governments. He said that while extradition proceedings have not occurred yet, "the Philippine government has asked the US government to place the Garcia brothers on a provisional arrest warrant, usually issued for people who intend to flee."

Tamor reasoned that provisional arrest warrant has "no place in the Garcia brothers' case" because extradition proceedings have not been initiated and both have not shown signs that they are going to evade their charges in the Philippines.

The lawyer also denied media reports that Timothy Mark Garcia, the other brother of Ian Carl and Juan Paolo is still at large. Tamor said that Timothy Mark is in custody in New York and was also placed in a provisional arrest warrant like his two brothers.

Tamor added that the Garcia brothers, who are detained at the North County Jail in Oakland, California, "are not in good spirits, but they're as good as they can possibly get given their situation."

Meanwhile, Clarita's detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday (March 1o) has been postponed by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She remains in custody at the Wayne County Jail in Detroit.