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Hold departure order vs Ligots

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 03:00 AM November 01, 2011

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday directed the National Prosecution Service to immediately secure a hold departure order 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 had already fled abroad after the Court of Tax Appeals ordered their arrest on Friday on a tax evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

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In its complaint with the Department of Justice, the BIR said the Ligots owed the government P153.3 million in taxes, including interest and penalties, 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 (NBI) agents would continue to search for them.

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Surrender expected

The tax court had recommended a bail of P20,000 for each of the Ligots.

De Lima, however, declined to give 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.

Coddlers warned

De Lima warned that individuals who may be protecting the Ligots “will be charged with obstruction of justice.”

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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 surrender.

NBI Deputy Director Ruel Lasala said his agents had gone to four known addresses of the Ligots but they were nowhere to be found.

Ligot was the comptroller of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from 1999 to 2001 under then AFP chief of staff Gen. Angelo Reyes.

Ligot, who was implicated by several Senate witnesses in an alleged fund diversion scam in the AFP, was the second former ranking military officer facing a tax suit.

Retired Maj. Gen. 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. With a report from Jeannette I. Andrade

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TAGS: Erlinda Ligot, former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot, Hold Departure Order, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Ligots, tax evasion case
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