CA upholds dismissal of special prosecutor in Garcia case

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2014 12:12 PM | Updated as of Jul 23 2014 08:12 PM

MANILA - The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked the motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by a dismissed special prosecutor from the Office of the Ombudsman who approved the plea bargain deal in the plunder case against retired military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia in 2010.

In a six-page resolution by its Special Former Eighth Division, penned by Associate Justice Agnes Reyes-Carpio, the appellate court stood pat on its Aug. 27, 2013 ruling that junked former Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit's plea questioning an investigation, and later, a dismissal order, by the Office of the President (OP).

"Wherefore, the motion for reconsideration is denied. Our decision dated August 27, 2013 stands," the resolution read.

Under the controversial plea bargain deal, Garcia pleaded guilty on the lesser offenses of money laundering and direct bribery, and agreed to return P135 M of the more than P300 M in public funds he was accused of illegally amassing.

The deal was stayed by the Supreme Court (SC) after the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a petition questioning the Sandiganbayan's approval of the plea bargain.

In her petition, Sulit argued that the OP had no jurisdiction to investigate her because she was not yet a presidential appointee at the time she recommended the plea bargain deal and merely officer-in-charge of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

In its 2013 ruling, the appellate court said Sulit was under the disciplinary power of the OP and was already performing the duties and powers of the office at the time she faced the administrative proceedings.

The resolution was concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon Garcia and Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla.