DoJ secretary wants Ligots on hold order list
MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday directed the National Prosecution Service to immediately secure a hold departure order from the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) to prevent former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot and his wife, Erlinda, from slipping out of the country.
According to De Lima, there was no indication that the couple, who now have standing warrants of arrest for tax evasion, had already fled abroad after the CTA ordered their arrest on Friday for a tax-evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
In its complaint with the Department of Justice, the BIR said the Ligots owed the government P153.3 million in taxes for their failure to declare their income of P164.3 million in 2003.
Although the retired major general and his wife would likely surface after the long Halloween break to post bail, De Lima said National Bureau of Investigation agents would continue to search for them.
The tax court had recommended a bail of P20,000 for each of the Ligots.
She, however, refused to give the operational details of the NBI’s manhunt.
“We anticipate that they will surface on Wednesday or thereabouts after the long weekend and post bail,” De Lima said in a text message to the Inquirer.
“In any case, my instruction to NBI is once found, the Ligots should be brought to the NBI for processing and detention,” she said.
The justice secretary warned that individuals who may be protecting the Ligots “will be charged for obstruction of justice.”
Asked if she had given the NBI an ultimatum to arrest the couple, she said: “The ultimatum is ASAP … The NBI continues to search for them.”
De Lima said the NBI had contacted Ligot’s immediate family in an attempt to convince them to yield to authorities.
Ligot was the comptroller of the Armed Forces from 1999 to 2001 under the then military chief of staff General Angelo Reyes.
Ligot, who was implicated by several Senate witnesses in alleged fund diversion scam in the Armed Forces, was the second former ranking military officer to face a tax suit.
Controversial retired Major General Carlos Garcia, Ligot’s successor, was also slapped with a tax-evasion case for his failure to declare his numerous sources of income and properties.
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