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Plea bargain deal with Garcia to weaken justice system - bishop

MANILA, Philippines –  Former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Jaro, Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo warned the people yesterday that the plea bargain agreement with dismissed Gen. Carlos Garcia would weaken the country’s justice system.

Lagdameo told CBCPNews, the official news provider of the CBCP, that General Garcia should serve his prison sentence if he would be found guilty of plunder.

He said the plea bargain deal would only worsen corruption in government and not solve the problem.

Bad precedent

“If the plea bargain agreement is implemented, it could serve as a precedent and be abused for the convenience of other corrupt officials. It will not be a good example and that way of doing it might be sought and be applied for similar and other cases of corruption,” he said.

He said the government should determine the truth to get justice.

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He urged the Aquino administration to oppose the agreement that would allow Garcia to escape charges for allegedly stealing P303 million from state coffers while serving as armed forces comptroller.

“The search for truth must continue so that justice will be achieved,” Lagdameo said.

More supporters

Dilaab, a Church-based movement, also supports the call of former ombudsman Simeon Marcelo and former special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio to revoke the plea bargain deal on Garcia’s plunder case.

“The events of the recent days on Garcia being allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense and being set free come as a sordid shocker that is nothing short of a betrayal of public trust, and a reversal of whatever gains the nation may have had in its fight against graft and corruption,” the group said in its position paper.

The group joins Marcelo and Villa-Ignacio in their call to nullify the corrupt and illegal plea bargain agreement with Garcia and that those responsible for the deal should be prosecuted.

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