THE SANDIGANBAYAN?S reputation as being incorruptible has been tainted by its decision favoring the plea bargain entered into by the Office of the Ombudsman and Major General Carlos Garcia.
Under the deal, Garcia would get off with a much lighter sentence, for corruption rather than plunder, which is a heinous crime.
The deal provides that Garcia return P132 million, which is half of the money he stole from the government.
Many believe there?s no way Garcia could not have coughed up huge sums of money for some people at the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan.
Everybody has a price, it seems. Or most everybody.
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Before Ombudsman Merci Gutierrez resigned, she issued several decisions reinstating government officials who were dismissed for corruption, including customs police chief Joey Yuchongco.
She also reinstated minor customs employee Dolores Domingo, who was dismissed along with her alleged boyfriend, Chito Orbeta, a janitor-messenger at the Bureau of Customs, for unexplained wealth.
Domingo and Orbeta are reportedly married to other people.
My customs sources allege that Orbeta collected from importers and brokers for Domingo.
If ordinary customs employees like Domingo and her janitor boyfriend could amass wealth with their low pay, what more for officials like Yuchongco, who held a top position.
An insider at the Office of the Ombudsman said Yuchongco allegedly sold some of his ill-gotten property so he could pay off some Ombudsman officials.
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Contrary to the claim of Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez, he was in a hurry to reinstate Yuchongco as customs police chief when the controversial reinstatement was exposed in the media.
Yuchongco was always seen in the office of Alvarez even when he had already been dismissed.
He was running unofficial errands for the commissioner, according to my sources.
Now that Yuchongco is back, all his errands for Alvarez will be official.
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President Aquino should hold his appointment of defeated senatorial candidate Nereus Acosta to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in abeyance.
Aquino must weigh in all the good and bad reports about the guy.
Acosta, a former congressman of Bukidnon province, has pending cases of corruption in the Sandiganbayan.
He is so unpopular in Bukidnon that even a Catholic priest, Venancio Balansag, of the Bishop?s House, has written the President not to take him in as Cabinet secretary.
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Three Makati cops who shot and killed a 13-year-old scavenger are facing dismissal from the service.
Chief Inspector Angelo Germinal, PO3 Robert Riñon and PO1 Nicolas Apostol can take comfort in the fact that after everything dies down, they will be reinstated as long as they pay the boy?s parents.
I?ve seen so many cases of cops who committed serious crimes against civilians who were taken back after they settled with the victims or their families.
The Philippine National Police is like a Mafia that protects its own.