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Court convicts ex-AFP chief

By NEWSBREAK

MANILA, Philippines—Former Armed Forces chief of staff Lisando C. Abadia was convicted of perjury by the Sandiganbayan First Division today, July 14, 2011, for deliberate falsehood in his 1992 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) wherein he declared a P2.55-million windfall from supposed sale of a real estate property.

He was sentenced to jail terms of one month to one year and was ordered to pay the cost of the trial.

In its 25-page decision penned by Associate Justice Rodolfo A. Ponferrada, the court said that the actual sale of the said property  took place only on September 30, 2002, based on the testimony of prosecution witness Manolo Dimante Rubi, acting register of Deeds of Cebu.

In addition, it upheld Rubi’s testimony that the property was sold only for P200,000.

“(T)he Court holds that the accused’s statement in his 1992 SALN that his family income in 1992 includes the proceeds from a sale of real property in the amount of P2,550,000 is a falsehood, the truth being,…that he sold the subject lot …only in 2002 for P200,000,” the Sandiganbayan declared.

In his defense, Abadia presented the testimony of his cousin, Emilio Rafols, identified as the buyer of the property in 1992. Rafols claimed he bought the lot from the retired general for P3.5 million, with a P2.55 million down payment in 1992.

When questioned by Justice Ponferrada, however, Rafols admitted that he did not have the money to pay for the property and said the payment came from his three children who were working abroad.

Asked about how he acquired the property, Rafols said he gave P310,000 to a friend he only identified as a certain “June” who contacted a supposed real estate agent whose name Rafols could no longer recall.

“Such unsubstantiated testimony is hard to believe considering the big amount of money involved. His further testimony as to how he caused the transfer of title to the lot in 2006 by giving P310,000 to his friend who alleged contacted an agent he did not meet and whose names he could not even remember is even harder to believe or accept,” the court pointed out.

Last May, the graft court’s Second Division acquitted Abadia in a separate perjury charge concerning alleged misrepresentation in his 1993 SALN. The court junked majority of the prosecution’s evidence for being mere photocopies.—Newsbreak

 

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