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P135-M PROPERTIES NOT DECLARED

Former military comptroller Ligot found guilty of perjury

Jacinto Ligot

The Sandiganbayan’s First Division has convicted retired Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot, the former military comptroller, of perjury and sentenced him to six years in prison.

In a 74-page decision promulgated on Friday, the antigraft court found Ligot guilty on six counts for failing to declare P135 million of his properties in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) from 1998 to 2003.

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Ligot was sentenced to one year imprisonment for each count of perjury.

Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg, who penned the decision, said Ligot “willfully and deliberately” asserted falsehoods in his SALN, when he “consciously and knowingly” omitted several properties.

The decision was concurred in by Associate Justices Efren de la Cruz and Edgardo Caldona.

Additional bail bond OKd

But the court allowed the retired general to post an additional bail bond of P6,000 while he exhausts all legal remedies available to him.

Ligot served as Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller under Gen. Angelo Reyes, the late AFP chief, from 1999 to March 2001. He retired in 2004.

In all, Ligot had faced 11 counts of perjury. But the court acquitted him on three counts and dismissed two other cases, which were filed by the Ombudsman after the statute of limitations had already expired.

The court said he was acquitted on the three counts because the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Ligot used his wife Erlinda’s relative, Edgardo Yambao, as a dummy to acquire properties.

Included in the properties, which the prosecution said Ligot did not declare in his SALNs, were a BCDA condominium unit in Taguig City and several units at Paseo Parkview condominium in Makati City.

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Ligot also failed to declare farmlands in Bukidnon and Tanay, Rizal province.

His other unexplained wealth also include investments in the AFP Savings and Loan Inc., real estate properties in the United States, a Toyota Hilux pickup truck and an Isuzu Elf truck.

Ombudsman filed 11 cases

The Sandiganbayan ordered Ligot’s arrest on April 25, 2013 after the Ombudsman filed the 11 cases.

The charges against Ligot stemmed from the P135-million forfeiture case the antigraft body filed in 2005 against him, Erlinda, their children Paulo, Riza, Miguel, Yambao and relative Miguela Paragas.

Days after the issuance of his arrest order, Ligot posted a bail of P66,000.

In January this year, the Court of Tax Appeals acquitted Ligot and Erlinda in a separate tax evasion case.

Citing lack of evidence, the tax court cleared them of charges they failed to pay P428.08 million in taxes.

The tax evasion case stemmed from a 2011 Senate inquiry into allegations that Ligot and other former high-ranking AFP officials were involved in the multimillion “pabaon” (parting gift) funds misuse scandal.

Reyes later committed suicide after being accused during the same inquiry of accepting tens of million of pesos as parting gift when he retired as AFP chief. —WITH INQUIRER RESEARCH

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TAGS: AFP, Ligot, Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot, military comptroller, Perjury, Sandiganbayan
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