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Aquino not keen on reducing ex-comptroller Garcia’s jail sentence

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino is not inclined to reduce the prison sentence of former military comptroller Carlos Garcia and will leave to the defense authorities to probe past officials who sat on his case, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the President has made up his mind to uphold the military court ruling that convicted Garcia for hiding his true wealth and holding a US green card. Garcia, found guilty by the court martial for violating certain military rules during active service, will serve a two-year prison term at the state penitentiary upon the orders of the President.

“I doubt if the President will be granting it. The President already confirmed the decision of the court martial so in all likelihood there will be no diminution of sentence,” Lacierda said over government radio when asked if the Palace will grant a possible appeal for a reduction of Garcia’s court sentence.

Meanwhile, Malacañang yesterday appealed to Filipino travelers to avoid getting into the drug courier business following concerns over the arrest of another suspected Filipino drug mule in Hong Kong.

“We have time and again informed any and all Filipinos who are leaving the country not to be drug couriers. We have not been remiss in our duty to tell all Filipinos to observe the laws of a foreign land,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

“Nonetheless, having said that, our Philippine consul in Hong Kong will be there to assist our Filipino national.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier reported that a Filipino was arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport after 26 kilos of illegal drugs were found in his luggage. The former airport taxi driver, whose name was withheld, was reportedly on his way to mainland China. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)