2 California houses worth P51M ordered seized from Ligot
MANILA, Philippines — A recent Sandiganbayan ruling ordering the forfeiture of some P102 million worth of properties unlawfully acquired by former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot included two houses in California worth P51.6 million.
In a 70-page ruling by the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division, the court ruled that Ligot and his family had failed to justify how they bought such expensive assets out of their lawful income.
These include several condominium units in Taguig and Makati; parcels of land in Tanay, Rizal and Bukidnon; and shares of stock and investments, that were either under Ligot’s name, or his wife, Erlinda, and their children Paul, Riza, Miguel, and sister Miguela Ligot-Paragas.
The two California houses were purchased by Erlinda while Ligot was still AFP comptroller.
During the Senate hearings in 2011, senators repeatedly grilled Erlinda over these properties and her several travels abroad. Her husband’s monthly salary then was estimated at P35,000 until his retirement in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant general.
The Ligots initially denied ownership of both properties, saying the Buena Park property was purchased by Juanito and Elenita Destura in 2004.
They also claimed that the Anaheim property was bought by a partnership, which merely appointed Ligot’s wife as trustee.
Sold to other parties
Citing the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s own investigation, the court said Erlinda bought the Buena Park property in 2004 for P33.7 million by securing a $499,992 loan from Just Mortgage Co.
In 2004, she sold the house for $142,000 to Juanito and Elenita Destura, who never lived there.
The Anaheim property, meanwhile, was purchased in 2003 for $322,181 through a 30-year mortgage from World Savings Bank.
Both houses have now been sold to other parties amid the housing boom in the United States.
The court also ruled that the Ligots failed to prove that it was Erlinda’s brother, Edgardo Yambao, who bankrolled the purchase of an Essensa condo in Taguig worth P23 million.
The Sandiganbayan also ruled that the properties registered in the names of the Ligot children worth P8.3 million, including cornlands and machineries in Malaybalay, were actually owned by the spouses since the children had no financial capacity to purchase the properties.
The same goes for the two Parkview properties supposedly under the name of Ligot’s sister, Miguela Paragas.
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