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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Ex-AFP comptroller found guilty of bribery, sentenced to 8 years

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The Sandiganbayan has found retired Major General Carlos Garcia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of direct bribery and of facilitating money laundering, sentencing him to four years to eight years in prison.

In an eight-page decision, the anti-graft court granted Garcia’s plea bargain to the lesser offense of direct bribery.

The former Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for comptrollership was initially charged with plunder, which has a punishment of reclusion perpetua or 20 to 40 years of imprisonment.

Garcia was also fined P406.3 million, or three times the total value of the gifts he received, as per his plea-bargaining agreement.

Garcia entered the plea-bargaining agreement with the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman in 2010.

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As part of the plea-bargaining agreement, the Supreme Court said Garcia offered to cede P135.4 million worth of cash, real and personal properties owned by himself and his family in favor of the government.

Though the Office of the Solicitor General filed a petition for certiorari against the plea-bargaining agreement, it was dismissed by the Supreme Court in September 2020.

“The Court finds accused Carlos F. Garcia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Direct Bribery, defined and penalized under Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code,” the Sandiganbayan said.

In 2005 and 2009, Garcia was charged with plunder and money laundering for conniving and conspiring with co-accused members of his family, amassing P303.2 million worth of ill-gotten wealth in the form of funds, landholdings, and other real and personal properties.

For the money laundering charge, Garcia pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of facilitating money laundering. Garcia was sentenced to imprisonment of four years to six years and ordered to pay a fine of P1.5 million.

“The Court finds accused Carlos F. Garcia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 4, paragraph B of Republic Act No. 9160, or Facilitating Money Laundering,” it said.

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