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Ligot property being claimed by ex-AFP chief, top officers

By NEWSBREAK

MANILA, Philippines –A former chief of staff and the current third-highest ranking officer in the military are among the 77 claimants of a 7.2-hectare property in Tanay, Rizal, that the government said was illegally acquired by ex-military comptroller ret. Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot.
In a motion for intervention filed with the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division, petitioners Shelley Veronica, Andaya Perez, and Felipe Perez said the petitioners that they are representing are the rightful owners of the contested land located at Sitio Masalat in Sampaloc, Tanay in the province of Rizal.
The property is one of the subjects of the government’s forfeiture case against Ligot, who was the predecessor of another comptroller, Carlos Garcia, now in jail over unexplained wealth.
The petitioners submitted to the court a three-page document marked as “Annex-1,” which contains the names of the other claimants, a list that includes former AFP chief of staff retired Gen. Victor Ibrado (who supposedly owns 502 sq. m.), incumbent AFP deputy chief of staff Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara (250 sq. m.), and whistle-blower George Rabusa (750 sq. m.).
Other prominent names in the list are: Bureau of Corrections director ret. Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan (500 sq.m); former Philippine Military Academy Supt. retired police general Cristolito Balaoing (1,045 sq.m.), and former AFP Central Command chief retired Lt. Gen. Isagani Cachuela.
The document did not provide the ranks of the persons named in the petition but listed their addresses at “Paoville, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City,” except for Rabusa whose residence was written as “OJ6 Valdez Hall, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City”.
Ibrado served as former AFP chief of staff from April 2009 to March 2010, while Pangilinan was former chief of the AFP-Northern Luzon Command before he was appointed by President Aquino as head of the Bureau of Corrections last July.
Rabusa served as budget officer at the AFP office of the deputy chief of staff for comptrollership (J6) under Ligot and later on, Major Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, both of whom he would later accuse of perpetrating massive fund irregularities.
Alcantara was appointed only last May as AFP deputy chief of staff, the third highest post in the military.
Based on the group’s petition, they explained that Ligot was asked by officers of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division in 2001 to find a suitable property that they can acquire for residential purposes.
Ligot, then commander of the said division, was approached after he successfully undertook the relocation of informal settlers from Camp Capinpin through the help of then Tanay Mayor Tomas Tanjuatco.
They said that with the assistance of Ligot and Tanjuatco, they decided to acquire a five-hectare property from Ma. Violeta A. Melendres.
“(T)he interested buyers requested respondent Ligot to represent them as buyer on record, and the transfer of title was processed in the name of respondent Ligot, and the amounts collected from the individual lot buyers would be remitted directly to the seller,” the group said.
As proof of actual sale and transfer of ownership, petitioners also submitted a copy of the subdivision plan prepared in 2002 by geodetic engineer Ramon Rubio.
They pointed out that in Ligot’s answer to the forfeiture complaint, he disclaimed any interest in the Tanay property.
“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that the Honorable Court render judgment recognizing the interest in, ownership of, and title to, the subject property, in the name of intervenors-respondents, and to exclude the same from any forfeiture that the Honorable Court may adjudge in this case,” they asked the Sandiganbayan.
The government is seeking to recover a total of P135,280,822.11 in alleged ill-gotten wealth from Ligot, his wife Erlinda, their children Paulo, Riza and Miguel, Mrs. Ligot’s brother Edgardo Yambao, and the general’s sister Dr. Miguela Ligot-Paragas.
In the book The Enemy Within: An Inside Story on Military Corruption, Ligot was described as a part of the so-called comptroller mafia in the AFP that had mastered the art of conversion, or the use of existing budget for unintended purposes. The book also noted that Ligot was closely associated with the late AFP and defense chief Angelo Reyes, who shot himself after Rabusa accused him of getting P50 million in “pabaon” from the AFP when he retired. - Newsbreak
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