MANILA, Philippines?Government lawyers asked the Sandiganbayan Second Division to suspend the proceedings on cases connected to former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Comptroller Carlos Garcia.
The Sandiganbayan Second Division, last May 9 approved the plea bargain agreement between Garcia and the Office of the Ombudsman after Garcia was able to comply with the anti-graft court?s condition for the immediate transfer, conveyance of his real and personal properties including bank accounts to the government.
President Benigno Aquino III had slammed the Sandiganbayan for approving the plea bargain deal between the Office of the Ombudsman and Garcia.
"I was surprised how the Sandiganbayan arrived at their decision. They are like in a vacuum," Aquino had said in an interview. He promised that the Solicitor General will appeal the Sandiganbayan's decision at the Court of Appeals, and even up to the Supreme Court.
Garcia has since turned over to the government P135-million worth of properties.
The anti-graft court is also waiting for the US government to turn over to the government bank accounts of Garcia and his family, as well as the Trump Park Avenue Condominium in New York worth P43.155-million.
After the approval of the plea bargaining agreement, the anti-graft court is expected to promulgate its decision against Garcia for direct bribery and facilitating money laundering.
But in its manifestation, Solicitor-General Jose Anselmo Cadiz said that the government ?respectfully prayed that the Honorable Court suspend the proceedings in these cases pending the filing and resolution of its consolidated motion for reconsideration.?
Under the plea bargain deal, Garcia, while serving as Armed Forces comptroller, pleaded guilty to a lesser offense instead of plunder.
Plunder is punishable by up to 40 years? imprisonment, while the lesser offense has a minimum sentence of six years.
The agreement allowed Garcia to return to the government some P135 million in assets in exchange for pleading guilty to a lesser offense.
Garcia, as the gatekeeper of the military's funds, handled the military budget and procurement, as well as funds from the United Nations for Filipino troops serving as peacekeepers in troubled areas and money for joint exercises with US troops.
Allegations of his illicit assets became known in 2003 after US Customs informed the Philippines that his sons had been caught trying to enter the United States with $100,000 in undeclared funds.