Court affirms sentence, fine on ex-general for graft 


THE PHILIPPINES’ anti-graft court on Wednesday upheld its ruling convicting a former military general of bribery and facilitating money laundering, sentencing him to a maximum jail term of 14 years. 

In a 13-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan Second Division stood by its July decision that also fined retired Major General Carlos F. Garcia P407.8 million for the twin crimes. 

The ex-general has been in jail since 2011.  

The court noted that Mr. Garcia had admitted his crimes when he entered a plea bargain deal for the lighter offenses of direct bribery and facilitating money laundering in 2010. 

“Movant pleaded guilty to the crime of direct bribery and judicially admitted civilly liable to destitute properties in the total amount aforementioned because the properties were ill-gotten,” Associate Justice Oscar C. Herrera, Jr. said in the ruling.  

In his last plea, the retired general questioned the more than P400 million in fines imposed by the anti-graft court, triple the value of assets that he illegally amassed.  

The court noted that under the Revised Penal Code, those found guilty of direct bribery may be ordered to pay a fine of “not less than three times the value of the gift.”  

Under the country’s law penalizing plunder, a public official found guilty of acquiring ill-gotten wealth worth at least P50 million may face life imprisonment and permanent disqualification from holding public office. — John Victor D. Ordoñez