Trillanes outraged at Ombudsman for Garcia plea bargain

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2011 12:08 AM | Updated as of Jan 06 2011 08:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV slammed the Ombudsman for its decisions absolving people connected with the previous administration of their corruption cases, and vowed to take part in any move to impeach her.

Trillanes cited in particular the Office of the Ombudsman's recent plea bargain deal with retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller Carlos Garcia.

"We express outrage and condemnation sa ginawa ng Ombudsman. Kailangang doon ituon ang galit," he told reporters on Wednesday after submitting his application for amnesty.

Trillanes said Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez deserves to be impeached. "It's not for me to push, but I will do whatever I can to make that happen."

Various officials including President Benigno Aquino III have questioned the decision of state prosecutors to enter into a plea bargain with Garcia, who is accused of amassing P303.27 million in ill-gotten wealth while in active service with the military.

The agreement allowed Garcia to enter guilty pleas for the lesser--and bailable--offenses of direct bribery and violation of Section 4-B of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) instead of plunder. He walked free last year after posting P60,000 bail.

A document obtained by ABS-CBN News, meanwhile, showed that as early as August 11, 2010, the Sandiganbayan had issued a resolution ordering banks, the Land Transportation Office, the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loans Association, and other agencies to undertake the transfer to the government of assets enumerated by Garcia in the plea bargaining agreement.

The document showed that Garcia had already executed deeds of conveyances, turning over ownership of his assets in favor of the state.

Trillanes noted that he and members of the Magdalo Group who participated in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny were jailed by President Arroyo for condemning acts of corruption.

Capt. Gary Alejano, another Oakwood Mutiny leader, said he has no personal grudge against Garcia, who was initially detained at the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines along with the Oakwood mutineers.

“There has to be justice. It's not right that he return to the government only the portion of what you stole and then be free. That is not right,” he said.