MANILA (Feb 18) – The country’s anti-graft court has found retired army major general Carlos Garcia, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller, “guilty beyond reasonable doubt” of perjury. He was sentenced to serve one year and eight months to two years in jail. His lawyers said they will file a motion for reconsideration asking the court to reverse its decision.
In a 20-page decision, Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division said the retired major general had falsified his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth which he declared in 2000. It also said that he failed to declare his cash and bank deposits and investments which had accumulated to P7 million in his account with the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association, Inc. (AFPSLAI).
Garcia is also facing plunder charges for his unexplained wealth amounting to some P300 million. He is presently detained at the National Police’s Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City pending decision on his plunder case.
In December 2005, Garcia was convicted by a general court martial for undeclared wealth. The court martial also dismissed him from the military and sentenced him to two years of hard labor.
The Sandiganbayan’s Third and Second Divisions had earlier cleared Garcia of other perjury charges in May 2006 and April 2008. Both noted that the law did not make it mandatory for a public official to disclose assets owned by his spouse or minor children.
Allegations of amassing ill-gotten wealth started against Garcia after one of his sons was arrested by United States customs officials at the San Francisco airport for failing to declare $100,000 in 2003.