Palace: Aquino unlikely to reduce sentence of ex-AFP comptroller for hiding assets
MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang has ruled out reducing ex-military comptroller Carlos Garcia’s two-year sentence for violating the military’s Articles of War.
“I doubt if the President will be granting it. The President has already confirmed the decision of the court-martial. In all likelihood, there will be no diminution of sentence,’’ Secretary Edwin Lacierda, presidential spokesman, said over State-run Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday.
After President Aquino signed his arrest order, the military arrested Garcia and whisked him last Friday to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City to serve a two-year sentence for violating Articles of War 96 and 97.
In December 2005, a military court found Garcia guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline for not declaring his true assets and for holding permanent-resident status in the United States.
Military officials said Garcia was serving the court martial sentence only now because then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not act on it.
NBP officer-in-charge Richard Schwarzkopf said Garcia’s two-year sentence could still be reduced because the latter had signed a memorandum of agreement covering the good conduct time allowances that an inmate usually received for exemplary behavior.
Lacierda also said the executive department was deferring to the Department of National Defense and Armed Forces of the Philippines on how to go about investigating other officials, apart from Garcia, for violation of the Articles of War.
“We will let the AFP officials do their investigation. We don’t know what went on during the past administration. We will leave it to the AFP and the DND hierarchy to conduct the necessary and appropriate investigation of the matter,’’ Lacierda said.
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