By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Comptroller Lt. General Jacinto C. Ligot has been convicted by the Sandiganbayan of six perjury charges due to the anomalous entries made in his statement of assets liabilities and net worth (SALN) for the years 1998 to 2003.
The anti-graft court’s First Division sentenced him to a total of six years of prison correcional in the promulgation held Friday morning.
Meanwhile, he was acquitted in two other perjury charges due to the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. His three other perjury charges were dismissed.
In the charges in which he was convicted, Ligot failed to declare his ownership of a BCDA Condominium Unit in Taguig City for the years 1998 to 2003. Then in 2000, he did not disclose ownership of Paseo Parkview Condominium units.
His properties kept adding up year by year. In 2001, he acquired the Imbayao Farm in Malaybalay, Bukidnon under the name of Paulo Ligot. He added more in 2002, with a parcel of land in Tanay, Rizal.
Ligot also made improvements on the Imbayao Farm, made AFPSLAI (Police Savings & Loan Association Inc.) investments, and purchased vehicles in the name of Paulo and Riza Ligot. These were a Toyota Hilux pickup and an Isuzu Elf truck.
Finally in 2003, Ligot failed to declare an additional Essensa East Condominium or the proceeds of its sale, and a Cabernet property in Anaheim, California.
“The evidence thus far presented all indicate that accused Ligot willfully and deliberately asserted a falsehood in his SALN by consciously and knowingly omitting in his SALN the properties he knows to be in his and his wife’s name,” the decision read.
For the parcel of land in Tanay, Rizal, Ligot tried to reason that it was not his. He even presented the testimony of its previous owner, the late Ma. Violeta Melendres, who claimed that the buyers of her land were several military personnel. However, the court did not give any merit to this testimony.
The court said Ligot should have been presented the other alleged buyers of the lot to validate the claim of Melendres. It wasn’t shown as well how the property was subdivided and transferred to the other buyers.
His other charges that were dismissed and in which he was cleared are for the 1993 to 1997 SALNs.
The 74-page decision was written by Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg with the concurrence of Chairperson Efren De La Cruz and Associate Justice Edgardo Caldona.