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WHAT WENT BEFORE: Ligots’ unexplained assets

/ 05:30 AM January 18, 2019

In September 2011, the Court of Tax Appeals ordered the arrest of former military comptroller Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and his wife,

Erlinda, on tax evasion charges.

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The case stemmed from a Senate investigation of accusations that Ligot and other former high-ranking military officials were involved in a military slush fund scam by former military budget officer George Rabusa.

Ligot served as comptroller under Gen. Angelo Reyes, then Armed Forces chief of staff, from 1999 to 2001.

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In March 2011, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed a complaint in the Department of Justice against the Ligots for allegedly attempting to evade paying taxes from 2002 to 2004. The BIR said they owed the government P428 million in unpaid taxes, with Ligot having a tax deficiency of P290.2 million and Erlinda, P137.8 million.

While in active service, according to the BIR, Ligot made several substantial deposits and investments, including $1.28 million and $1.6 million with Citibank, and bought several properties in Bukidnon and Rizal provinces, a condominium in Makati, and a luxury vehicle.

Erlinda also allegedly made a deposit of $200,000 in Citibank.

A separate forfeiture case was filed against the Ligots in the Sandiganbayan in 2005 for allegedly amassing P135.28 million in unexplained wealth. The assets allegedly included two houses in California and high-priced condominium units.

In 2007, Ligot, through his lawyers, offered the government more than P20 million of his assets in exchange for the withdrawal of cases filed against him and his family. Malacañang rejected the offer.

Ligot retired in 2004 with a monthly salary of at least P35,000, but reports of his unexplained assets reaching at least P60 million led to his appearance before the House committee on national defense in 2005. He invoked his right against self-incrimination.

In April 2013, the Sandiganbayan ordered the arrest of Ligot in connection with 11 counts of perjury filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman.

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In April 2014, the government filed a second forfeiture case against the Ligots in the Sandiganbayan.

The properties sought to be forfeited include bank deposits and investments in Citicorp. Financial Services and Insurance Brokerage Philippines worth P52.5 million, a dollar placement with Metrobank (equivalent to P1.1 million), and an investment with the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc. (P419,323.60). —INQUIRER RESEARCH

SOURCE: INQUIRER ARCHIVES

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TAGS: acquittal, Jacinto Ligot, Philippine news update, Unexplained wealth
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