Ex-AFP comptroller Ligot asks Sandiganbayan to junk P55-M forfeiture case

MANILA, Philippines – Retired Lieutenant General Jacinto Ligot and his extended family have asked the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to dismiss a forfeiture case against them.

The case, filed by the Ombudsman back in June of 2013, seeks to recover P55.6 million worth of cash investments and bank accounts that form part of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the former military comptroller's family. 

GMA News reported that he filed a joint motion for reconsideration and a motion to submit on August 18, which reached the court only on Thursday, August 25.

Ligot and his relatives said the case should be dismissed on the ground of "forum shopping," defined informally as having mulitple cases or proceedings involving the same parties for the same cause set up in order for a favorable judgment to be found in a case.

A resolution promulgated by the Sandiganbayan on July 21 acknowledged that a prior case for civil forfeiture filed by the Anti Money Laundering Council (AMLC) – through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) – remains pending before a Manila regional trial court. 

The properties in the Ombudsman's forfeiture case includes Velasquez’s account with Citicorp Financial Services and Insurance Brokerage Phil. Inc (CFSI), carrying P52.525 million; a dollar account with Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) by Yambao, which has P1.1 million; and Riza’s investment with the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc., worth P419,323.60.

They said the AMLC and Ombudsman cases share the same bank deposits and investment accounts. What the government seeks to forfeit in both cases is almost identical, except the AMLC case has more listings.

Ligot and his family explained: “It is unthinkable but definitely, the Office of the Ombudsman is using its vast power for the purpose of oppression. In layman’s language, what is the difference between AMLC Case…and the instant case? Both are for the purpose of forfeiting the same money or assets.”

Ligot’s co-respondents include his wife Erlinda Y. Ligot; children Paulo, Riza and Miguel; brother-in-law Edgardo T. Yambao; and Gilda Y. Alfonso-Velasquez, cousin of Mrs Ligot.

Another earlier ill-gotten wealth case filed against the family in 2005, sought the forfeiture of real estate assets worth P135.28 million. – Rappler.com