Impede the plea, expose the impunity!

The plea bargain agreement for Gen. Carlos Garcia, an admitted launderer to dodge the graver offense of plundering more than 300 million pesos, is impunity in its most reprehensible twist. Impunity is not only the flagrancy of the crooked; impunity is also when the crooks are scot-free.

How do we tell the Filipinos to act in uprightness and combat corruption? How do we encourage our public officials and employees to a conduct of decorum? How do we persuade businessmen to pay their taxes? How do we tell our students not to cheat?

How do we promote integrity and accountability in the country, when corruption cases like that of Gen. Garcia are rewarded by pure legalese? What can deter the crooks if they can go unpunished by simply allowing them to return a portion of their loot?

How are things to change when the very institutions entrusted with punishing corruption are either circumvented or abetting it?

Paano tayo titino kung ang mga kurakot ay nakakalusot?  Sino ngayon ang magkakalakas ng loob sugpuin ang mga katiwalian sa bansa?

Garcia’s plea bargain is a toleration of his anomalous actions. Toleration does not only set a very bad precedence; it also feeds and reinforces the crookedness of his breed.

This is not anymore about Gen. Garcia; this is now more about the honor and integrity of the country that is at stake. This is now more about the reputation of fiduciary institutions – the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) – that is suspect. This is now more about the entire Filipino people losing trust and faith on these institutions. This is a classic betrayal of public trust!

I believe that the Philippine government has a solid case against Gen. Garcia, and subscribe to the legal and audit opinions that the plea bargain is categorically illegal and blatantly inappropriate. I support the calls to abrogate the plea bargain!

We should commend the hard work of the lawyers, auditors and investigators who worked for many years to build a solid case against Gen. Garcia. You are our inspiration and will forever be remembered of your legacy.

We must praise those well-meaning OMB and OSP officials and employees who remain steadfast and oppose – even in silence – the plea bargain agreement. The people will forever remember you for taking the higher moral ground.

We laud the Armed Forces of the Philippines for courageously wanting Garcia’s case to proceed, rather than be shelved by plea bargain. More importantly, we can salute the military whistleblowers who will certainly stand out as the genuine officers and gentlemen.

Corrupt men in the army don't deserve to wear their uniform. You should be ashamed!

I join the Filipino people in monitoring and supporting the full resolution by prosecution of Gen. Garcia’s plunder case.

Pag-isipan, pag-usapan! Huwag nating kakalimutan!

We should enjoin the citizenry to seriously reflect. Garcia’s case is corruption that creeps into our families and institutions.

We should call on the parents to serve as good examples to their children and espouse the virtue of honest toil. We call on the children to ask your parents about their sources of income. We call on the students to ask how your tuition fees are paid.

We must knock on the doors of the schools and universities to review your formation programs; we exhort on your intervention to chastise corrupt students and alumni.

We must urge all offices – public and private alike – to look deeper into your procurement practices, and enhance transparency and accountability.

We should remind all lawyers, auditors and law enforcers of your public oath of honor and integrity. Are you becoming instruments of the impunity of corruption?

It takes years to build trust and a few seconds to destroy it, and takes longer time to restore it.