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Palace supports ‘whistleblower’ in Garcia plunder case

Malacañang on Tuesday expressed support to Heidi Mendoza, the former state auditor who said she had been asked by a government office to “go easy" on Carlos Garcia, a former military official accused of committing plunder while in active service. “We can assure her this will not be a lonely fight," said Ricky Carandang, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning head, at a press briefing. “We are going to see what she has to say, what kind of evidence [she will present]." He said the support is not limited only to Mendoza, but to all witnesses who have evidence against Garcia. “If there is enough evidence — and we do believe there is — we’ll help people who are willing to talk and come out and tell the truth," Carandang said. Mendoza headed a special audit team that was detailed with the Office of the Ombudsman from 2004 to 2006 to look into the transactions entered into by Garcia. Their investigation led to the filing of plunder charges against the former general, his wife and children before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court. Mendoza recently revealed that she had received a request from a government office to go easy on Garcia’s plunder case. With Mendoza’s disclosure, Carandang expressed hope that the Sandiganbayan will grant the motion to intervene filed by Solicitor General Anselmo Cadiz regarding the plea bargain agreement between Garcia and the Ombudsman. The prosecution said it accepted Garcia’s plea bargain offer because it had insufficient evidence to convict him of plunder. The agreement allowed Garcia to plead guilty to a lesser charge of direct bribery and money laundering. He was able to post bail late last year. “A lot of information has been coming out now and there’s going to be hearings in the Senate as well, so let’s see what other actions can be taken in the meantime. With all of these coming to light now and I think it supports the position of the Palace to intervene," Carandang said. “We believe that there is evidence, and what we are seeing coming to light in the last several days supports our stand that there is really evidence against Gen. Garcia," he added. — KBK/LBG, GMANews.TV