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Here are some unforgettable cases typical of the situation prevailing


Ex-general Garcia’s sons in US plead guilty

Two sons of the former general in charge of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ funds pleaded guilty to bulk cash smuggling, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

The sentencing of Juan Paulo and Ian Carl is scheduled for 9 a.m. on November 29, before US District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel. The brothers were released from electronic monitoring pending that appearance.

Juan Paulo Garcia, 29, of Pontiac, Michigan, and Ian Carl Garcia, 32, of Las Vegas, sons of former Philippine military comptroller Carlos Garcia, were indicted under seal on December 9, 2008, on bulk cash smuggling and conspiracy charges.

Juan Paulo was also charged with failing to file a monetary instrument report and making a false statement to a government agency. The indictment was unsealed following their arrest in February 2009.

In pleading guilty, the brothers admitted that in December 2003 they smuggled $100,000 into the United States from Manila, Philippines by concealing it in their luggage, and that they made false statements to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers about the amount of money they were carrying.

The brothers agreed to forfeit the $100,000 to the United States government. In exchange, the United States agreed to dismiss the remaining charges and to recommend a sentence of time served. The brothers have spent approximately 100 days in custody and a year and a half on electronic monitoring.

“This prosecution demonstrates our determination to combat and deter bulk cash smuggling, which is often a means of moving ill-gotten gains into the United States,” said US Attorney Haag. “We applaud the coordination and dedication of the many agencies, including those in the Philippines, that joined forces to investigate this case.”

After CBP Officers discovered the undeclared currency, federal agents initiated an international investigation in cooperation with the Republic of the Philippines, Office of the Ombudsman, Office of the Special Prosecutors.

As a result of the investigation, former Philippine General Carlos Garcia, Juan Paulo and Ian Carl’s father, recently was found guilty in the Philippines of perjury for a false declaration of his assets and liabilities in 2000.

Garcia, his wife and three sons, including Juan Paulo and Ian Carl, are also facing plunder charges in the Philippines for allegedly illegally amassing more than P300 million during the former general’s active military service.

The maximum penalty for each of the four counts in the indictment—conspiracy to commit bulk cash smuggling, bulk cash smuggling, failure to report the importation of monetary instruments and false statements to a government agency—is five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The penalty for failure to declare the importation of monetary instruments increases to 10 years in prison if a defendant is convicted of this charge in addition to one of the other three charges in the indictment.

“As the first line of defense for America’s international border, CBP works closely with international law enforcement agencies. This interception highlights the important work CBP officers perform every day,” said Richard Vigna, CBP Director of Field Operations, San Francisco.

Hartley West and Candace Kelly are the Assistant US Attorneys who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Wilson Wong, Rawaty Yim, and Rosario Calderon. The prosecution is the result of an international investigation led by Special Agents from CBP, the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service.


"police corruption begins at the very inception of service"
When President Noynoy Aquino visited San Francisco a few weeks ago, Daz Lamparas, a local Filipino American union official, sought an audience with him to talk about his niece. But since there were thousands of Filipinos in the Bay Area who also wanted the chance to talk to the President, Daz simply had no chance.

It’s really too bad. If President Aquino had only heard what Daz had to say about his niece’s experience, the president’s knowledge about the nature of Philippine police corruption would have deepened.

Daz would have told the president that his niece, Lotlot, graduated from the University of Mindanao in Davao Norte province last year with a bachelor’s degree in criminology. The youngest of seven children of Daz’s oldest brother (an unemployed tailor afflicted with prostate cancer), Lotlot aimed for a career in law enforcement in the Philippine National Police (PNP). In April of this year, she passed the PNP board examination and was on her way to fulfilling her dream.

A month after passing the PNP board exam, Lotlot applied for a job as a PNP police officer in Camp Catitipan in Davao City. After waiting for several months, she followed up on her application and spoke with a PNP officer (Sergeant Jerome Santillan) who told her that in order to expedite her hiring for the next enlistment period in January of 2011, she would have to come up with P150,000.

Sgt. Santillan just made this offer straight out, making no attempt to cover his mouth and whisper his words softly so one else would hear it. That was the going rate and that’s what he told others interested in joining the PNP.

In the United States, the military pays you a bonus to enlist. In the Philippines, it’s quite apparently the other way around, at least when it comes to the PNP.

Lotlot was shocked to learn that you have to "pay to play" in the PNP. She had naively thought that all that mattered was that she was well-qualified and that she would be accepted based on merit. After she was informed about the cold reality of life in the PNP, she told Sgt. Santillan that she just had no way of coming up with that kind of money.

Sgt. Santillan told her that there was a cheaper way to enlist in the PNP. For P50,000, he could arrange for her to apply directly at the PNP main headquarters in Camp Crame, in Metro Manila.

The entry-level pay of a PNP officer is somewhere between P10,000 to P15,000 ($200-$300) a month. She would have to pay Sgt. Santillan about 3-4 months of her base monthly pay just to be employed by the PNP. This didn’t make sense.

So Lotlot asked her Uncle Daz for advice. Would it be worth it to raise the money to get the PNP job she was qualified for so she would be able to earn enough to help her ailing father?

“I told her that was crap!” Daz said. “I told my niece that I don't have that kind of money to pay for her employment.”

If the whole notion of paying a “kickback” to obtain a job in the PNP wasn’t so repulsive, Daz might have somehow raised the funds. After all, he basically paid for his her college education by “sending money monthly to pay her tuition, books, and other school expenses.”

So what happens after the bribe money is paid as the entrance fee to a gainfully productive career as a PNP officer? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the PNP officers will quickly seek to recoup their “investment” by any means necessary—jueteng, extortion, you name it.

While President Aquino was in the US last month, the local newspapers reported that Juan Carlo Garcia and Ian Carl Garcia, the two sons of retired Major General Carlos Garcia, had pled guilty in a San Francisco federal court to smuggling $100,000 (P5 million) to the US from Manila. When the unreported currency was found in their luggage at the San Francisco International Airport, they readily confessed that the money was given to them by their father.

Earlier in March of this year, their father, General Garcia, a former PNP Comptroller, was charged in the Philippines with the crime of plunder for possession of P302 million ($6M) of unexplained wealth which the government discovered in dollar deposits in various Philippine banks as well as a house in Ohio and two condos in New York (one in the exclusive Trump Place on Park Avenue) together with nine vehicles all in his name in Metro Manila. With a salary of just P50,000 a month, how did he amass this wealth?

Another PNP Comptroller, General Eliseo de La Paz, was arrested in Moscow on October 11, 2008 with P6.9 million worth of euros when his luggage was opened and the euros were found. De la Paz and the other "Euro Generals" with him were summoned to the Philippine Senate to explain how they received their euros.

Police Inspector Rolando Mendoza hijacked a bus filled with Hong Kong tourists on August 23 because he wanted to be reinstated in the Manila Police Department. He lost his PNP job when he was found guilty of extorting P20,000 from a chef at the Mandarin Hotel. Mendoza’s gripe was not that he wasn’t guilty but that every police officer in the force commits the same crime and they still retain their posts. Why was he singled out?

Reports of corruption by PNP officers abound. Lotlot’s experience informs us that police corruption begins at the very inception of service. If the Philippine government doesn’t rid itself of the corrupt PNP recruiters who poison the well right at the beginning of a police officer’s enlistment, the corruption will continue on until the officer is caught with P303 million, with euros, or when he hijacks a bus because he is kicked out of the force for doing what everyone else does.

In the meantime, Lotlot is back at her home with a four-year college degree in criminology and unemployed, caring for her sick father.      - Rodel Rodis in INQUIRER http://globalnation.inquirer.net/columns/columns/view/20101017-298191/Police-corruption-at-its-roots



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