Heidi 'in pain' over Sandiganbayan decision

By Niña Corpuz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 10 2011 02:59 PM | Updated as of May 10 2011 10:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Audit (COA) Commissioner Heidi Mendoza said it was a 'sad day' when she learned about the Sandiganbayan's decision to allow former military comptroller Carlos Garcia's plea bargain deal.

“I’m in pain…it’s a sad day, but then I must emphasize that there is no place for disappointment, there are a lot of things to do, a lot of challenges that lie ahead. So, I think I just could not be hopeless. I just could not be disappointed, you know, we have a President that's supportive of us...there's no room for disappointment,” she said at the sidelines of the 112th anniversary of the commission.

Mendoza also chose her words carefully when asked what she thought of the Sandiganbayan's decision that her testimony would not stand in court, including her findings that P50 million in military funds had been allegedly misused by Garcia.

"I defer to the decision of the court. I respect it although I may not necessarily agree with it," said Mendoza.

She maintained that the fight against corruption is not yet over. "The lesson really is to keep the focus, fight the many challenges despite the many not so beautiful things that's happening, because I know this is not the end yet."

Mendoza also believes the decision is just a 'temporary setback' in the fight against corruption, and that this should not discourage honest people to speak out about it.

“As the president has told us, hindi natin lahi yung mangurakot, manlamang. Lahi natin ang maging tapat, matakot sa diyos at mapagmahal sa bayan so parati akong umaasa na marami pang susunod,” she added.

Mendoza said the issue has opened the eyes of many Filipinos and made them more vigilant in the fight against corruption.

As for those who plan to steal from the government because they think they might get away with it, Mendoza has this message: “Gusto mo bang ma experience yung buong pamilya mo nahihirapan, nahihiya? Ang sabi ko nga po, ang pinakamalaking parusa ay ang pagkakataon o ang karanasan na mawalan ng malinis na pangalan."