Garcia faces 165 charges of money laundering

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE government is poised to file 165 counts of money laundering against Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia and his family, who have been accused of amassing P302.27 million in ill-gotten wealth.

In a letter to the Ombudsman, the Anti Money Laundering Council recommended the additional charges on top of those for plunder already filed against Garcia, his wife Clarita, and children Ian Carl, Juan Paolo and Timothy Clark.

The council noted that Garcia’s statement of assets and liabilities in 2003 showed a net worth of only P2.765 million, but the family’s bank balances amounted to P66.77 million and over half a million dollars.

The council deduced that the alleged crimes were committed between July 12, 2002 and Oct. 8, 2004, when the Garcias made at least 165 transactions including deposits, withdrawals, fund transfers and purchase of real estate.

Between Oct. 5 and 8, 2004, the Garcias’ bank withdrawals amounted to more than P73 million and almost $1 million.

The council said Garcia’s wife confessed that the source of their money was tainted. Clarita had a typewritten and a handwritten declaration dated April 6, 2004 ,that her husband received cash and other gifts from businesses and companies that he accommodated when he was comptroller of the Armed Forces.

The council said the children were also liable as they made huge bank withdrawals immediately after news that their father was being investigated came out.

“Considering the timing, it can be inferred that the children were aware of the illicit source of their funds,” the council said.

The council asked the Ombudsman to conduct a preliminary investigation so that the money laundering charges could be filed.

Money laundering is the process by which funds from illicit activities such as drug and human trafficking are made to appear legitimate by passing them through a business or through several transactions.

Aside from plunder and money laundering, Garcia is also facing tax evasion charges filed in 2005 for non-declaration of true income and attempting to evade payment of tax amounting to some P35 million from 1993 to 2003.

Garcia pleaded not guilty during his military arraignment for not declaring his true net worth in his statement of assets and liabilities and for being a permanent United States resident while still in military service.

In a separate development, Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez ordered the suspension of nine ranking officers of the Navy, including a rear admiral, on allegations of anomalous fund disbursements and “ghost” deliveries.

Among those put under preventive suspension without pay were Rear Adm. Constantino Jardiniano, commander of the Naval Education and Training Command at the naval station in San Antonio, Zambales.

After investigating an anonymous complaint, the Military and Law Enforcement Offices of the Ombudsman found had Jardiniano connived with eight other officers in making illegal transactions and liquidations.

Also suspended were Lt. Cmdr. Manuel Gimena; Mrs. Victoria Buhia; Lt. Daniel Labrador; Ensign Annaleen Magdaraog; Rosemarie Siquinia; Edmundo Baluca; Lt. Joel Tamayo; and Sgt. G.M. Labaguis.