Ex-military comptroller now in Senate custody
MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE 2) Former Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller Jacinto Ligot is now under Senate custody.
The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms took Ligot into custody from his home at the AFPOVAI (AFP Officers Village Association Inc.) village in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Thursday.
“Obviously, he did not resist arrest,” Senate Sergeant at Arms and retired general Jose Balajadia told reporters. “He peacefully came with us.”
Upon arrival at the Senate at 8 p.m., Ligot was immediately brought to a detention room where he was checked by doctors. He will be allowed visits by his immediate family and lawyers during office hours, according to Balajadia.
The Senate earlier ordered the arrest of Ligot after he and his wife, Erlinda, were cited for contempt for their failure to cooperate with the Senate inquiry on military corruption. Mrs. Ligot, however, was excluded from the arrest order, citing humanitarian considerations.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile signed the detention order against the military official on Thursday.
Nine senators signed the arrest/detention order issued by the blue ribbon committee headed by Senator Teofisto Guingona III.
Those who signed the order were Guingona, Senators Gregorio Honasan, Franklin Drilon, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Serge Osmena, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Pia Cayetano, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, and Ralph Recto.
This development came just hours after Guingona recommended the arrest and detention of the Ligots when they failed to show up during Thursday’s hearing of the committee on the alleged irregularities in the military.
The Ligots both cited health reasons for not attending the hearing.
But when the Senate sent its doctor Mariano Blancha to the Ligot residence, he found out that the couple was fit to attend the hearing.
Ligot has no flu and the health condition of his wife was “normal,” Blancha reported to the Senate blue ribbon committee on Thursday.
While it is true that Mrs. Ligot has palpitation, Blancha told the committee that “during our examination, all our findings [on her condition] are normal,” including her blood pressure that was 120 over 80.
But Blancha said that Mrs. Ligot “was anxious. Kinakabahan [Nervous], may [there is] anxiety at umiiyak kung minsan [and at times crying],” said Blancha but added, “She could have attended the hearing.”
And in the case of Mr. Ligot, Blancha said their examination of his condition revealed that he has no flu.
“At that time of examination, he has no fever,” said the Senate doctor.
But Mr. Ligot’s flu-like symptoms, he said, started Wednesday and the former general was taking medication.
“The only pertinent finding was the increased blood pressure, which was 160 over 90. He also complains of nasal congestion,” he said.
Of the two, Blancha said Mr. Ligot’s condition was better than that of his wife.
But the doctor reiterated that the couple could still have attended the hearing in the Senate.
The Ligots, through their lawyer, Rafael Zialcita, cited health reasons for failing to attend the Senate hearing that was investigating the fund scam in the military, including their unexplained wealth.
<strong> Louie Garcia, Radyo Inquirer</strong>
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