MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it respects the anti-graft court’s decision finding former AFP comptroller retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia guilty of direct bribery and facilitating money laundering.
In an eight-page decision promulgated on July 5, the Sandiganbayan 2nd Division granted Garcia’s plea bargain to the lesser offense of direct bribery, sentencing him to four to eight years of imprisonment. He was initially charged with plunder, which has a punishment of reclusion perpetua or 20 to 40 years of imprisonment.
“The case of former Major General Garcia is already at the jurisdiction of the court. The court has already rendered its decision, so we respect it,” acting AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said in a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday. “We respect the justice system to be an independent entity.”
Garcia, together with his wife and children, was charged with plunder in 2005 and money laundering in 2009. He and his family allegedly amassed P303.2 million worth of ill-gotten wealth in the form of funds, landholdings, and other real and personal properties.
For its part, the AFP, Aguilar explained, has “learned lessons and instituted measures to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.”
“You will hear no cases of that kind from the AFP,” the acting spokesperson said.
“I have not heard anything about cases of corruption involving military officers or personnel of that magnitude or level. The measures that were implemented were effective that it already changed the system.”