Ombudsman urged to withdraw Garcia plea bargain

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2011 05:21 PM | Updated as of Feb 03 2011 09:37 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Ombudsman must now consider withdrawing its plea bargain agreement with former military comptroller Carlos Garcia because of new, compelling evidence from credible witnesses, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said on Wednesday.
 
Enrile cited in particular the testimony of former Commission on Audit (COA) auditor Heidi Mendoza on Tuesday at the House of Representatives.
 
He said Mendoza was a credible and intelligent witness who "presented a very good case for the people of the Philippines."
 
"If I were the Ombudsman, with that revelation, I will have to rethink the plea bargain agreement because the statement of that woman is a telling indictment of the entire system. We have to heed the facts narrated by Ms. Mendoza," Enrile told reporters.
 
Enrile, a former defense secretary, said he is saddened by allegations of corruption in the military.
 
"The only way to cleanse this is to let the ax fall on the heads of whoever is guilty of misbehavior," he said.
 
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, meanwhile, believes Garcia's case can be reopened and reinvestigated because of the testimonies of Mendoza and former military budget officer George Rabusa.
 
She explained that cases can be reopened if there are new testimonies and evidence.
 
"There has been a change in circumstances. Maski sa Korte nga eh, maski tapos na ang desisyon at naging final and executory, kapag nakita mo na may bagong ebidensya, you can move for a new trial," she said.