Gag order sa Garcia plunder case unconstitutional

IN QUICK response to the  contentious, if adverse,  public reaction to the apparently closely wrapped PLEA BARGAINING agree-ment between the public prosecutors (Tanodbayan special prosecutors) and the accused former AFP Comp-troller Gen. Carlos Garcia in the P330 million plunder case against him before the San-diganbayan (2nd Division), Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval issued a ‘GAG’ order barring the parties from making public/media state-ments/comments  thereon.

Ang gag order na ito, mga Bok, ay unconstitutional dahil it impairs the public’s RIGHT TO KNOW ang BE INFORMED of a very sensitive/serious development relative to an incident impressed with so much public interest.

Ang PLUNDER ay isang NON-BAILABLE offense na isinasampa laban sa isang kawani ng pamahalaan (national/lokal) na nagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan ng halagang P50 milyones pataas.

Kaya naman ganun na lang kabigat/katindi ang parusa sa sinomang mapatutunayang nagkasala nito. Ang plunder ay isang PUBLIC POLICY legis-lation. It is basically intended as a deterrent to GRAFT and CORRUPTION in public office – the social cancer that has been gnawing the social fiber of this  nation  and  mired  her people in the quagmire of untold poverty over the years!

Dahil inuubos ng mga grafter, tulad ni Gen. Garcia (at ng nakararami sa ating mga gobernador, mayor, kongresista, tesorero, BIR people, accountable public officers, etc), ang KWARTA ng bayan na dapat napupunta sana sa basic social/health care services at infrastructures, sa ikauunlad ng bayan at ikabubuti ng mga mamamayan!

Kaya naman nararapat lang na ang mga GRAFTER na ma-patutunayan na  nagkasala  ng PLUNDER ay mapatawan ng MABIGAT na parusa at para  hindi sila pamarisan. Ito ang mensahe sa bayan – na ikinatuwa ng lahat  – ang ma-sampahan ng PLUNDER case si Garcia at pamilya niya! It never really occurred to us – all our legal minds included – that a system, such as plea bargaining,   imbedded in our very own criminal justice system (in our rules on criminal procedure to be more specific) could one day come to the rescue of grafters and plunderers, like this man Garcia! Alex Almario

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