Loren charged with 5 counts of graft | Inquirer News

Loren charged with 5 counts of graft

/ 07:58 AM May 07, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda was yesterday charged at the Office of the Ombudsman with five counts each of graft and non-declaration of a property in the United States in her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth from 2007 to 2012 as required by law.

In a complaint-affidavit, businessman Louis “Barok” C. Biraogo, 52, of Biñan, Laguna accused Legarda of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019) and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials (RA 6713) for allegedly not disclosing in her SALN her cash purchase of a $700,000 (P36 million) condominium unit at No. 77 Park Avenue in New York City on May 9, 2006.

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In the complaint, Biraogo, who claimed to be an advocate of constitutionalism and good governance, said the peso-dollar exchange rate at that time was P51.40 to $1, thus the cost of the property’s acquisition was P35.98 million.

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He said that Park Avenue in New York City is one of the most expensive residential areas in the world where rich families like the Rockefellers reside.

As of the filing of the complaint, Biraogo said Legarda is still the registered owner of the unit, and that there are no co-owners thereof, and the property is not mortgaged or encumbered.

Biraogo said it was Legarda’s obligation under Section 8 of RA 6713 to declare the property in her SALN when she reassumed her post as senator in May 2007.

“There is nothing in her SALN for 2011 which indicates where the Park Avenue unit is located in the US, how respondent acquired the said residential condominium unit, its current fair market value, and whether or not there is any improvement on the property,” he said.

The complaint said Legarda should be criminally held liable for failure or refusal to disclose the property in her SALN for five consecutive years.

“Since respondents earn only an estimated P75,000 monthly, the condominium unit in Park Avenue, New York City—which respondent acquired during her incumbency as a public official—is manifestly out of proportion to her salary and other lawful income,” the complainant said.

“There is nothing in any of her SALN which shows that acquisition of these luxurious properties can be through legitimate means,” it added.

Attached in the complaint were copies of the Real Property Transfer Report; the Recording and Endorsement Cover Page issued by the City Register of the City of New York dated May 9, 2006, Bargain and Sale Deed issued in the name of Loren Legarda; the Recording and Endorsement Letter Page relating to the Power of Attorney executed by Loren Legarda in favor of the Board of Managers of the 77 Park Avenue residential condominium; the said Power of Attorney, and copies of Legarda’s SALN. /INQUIRER

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TAGS: election 2013, Graft and Corruption, Loren Legarda, Politics
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