Ex-military comptroller: Don't pry into my bank accounts
MANILA, Philippines - Keep my bank deposits secret.
Former military comptroller retired Lieutenant General Jacinto Ligot, who faces charges of amassing ill-gotten wealth, objected to an attempt by the Ombudsman to access his bank deposits.
The move is barred under the Bank Secrecy Law, Ligot told the Sandiganbayan.
In a 20-page Consolidation Pleading filed through counsels Benjamin Santos and Joanne Frances Castro, Ligot sought the recall of a Sandiganbayan resolution on Nov 27, 2013 allowing prosecutors to subpoena bank officials in relation to a perjury case filed against him.
Prosecutors are seeking to present testimonies of managers from the Bank of the Philippine Islands, Metrobank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp, and Citibank as well as documents related to Ligot's cash deposits with them.
They said Ligot failed to declare financial assets in the 4 banks in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) when he was still in active service with the military.
"The action of the plaintiff constitutes an attempt by the prosecution at an impermissible inquiry into a bank deposit account the privacy and confidentiality of which is protected alone," Ligot's lawyers said.
Ligot said the 11 counts of perjury charges against him, pending with the court's first division, simply alleged "deliberate assertion of falsehood" in his SALNs. What the bank secrecy law, or RA 1405, says is that access to details of bank deposits may only be allowed when the accounts themselves are the subject of court action, his lawyers said.
The Ombudsman has already filed two forfeiture cases against Ligot and members of his family to recover alleged ill-gotten wealth he supposedly amassed while he was an officer of the AFP.
The first case filed in 2005 sought confiscation of his personal and family assets amounting to P135.28 million. Named co-respondents were his wife Erlinda; children Paulo, Riza and Miguel; sister Miguela L. Paragas; and brother-in-law Edgardo Yambao.
The second case was filed on June 3, 2013 involving additional assets of the family totaling P55.6 million in cash investments and bank accounts. (READ: New forfeiture case filed vs Ligot, family)
These are with the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc (AFPSLAI), Citicorp Financial Services and Insurance Brokerage Phil. Inc., BPI, Metrobank, Landbank of the Philippines, and United Overseas Bank.
Out on bail, Ligot is one of at least two ex-comptrollers facing court charges in connection with the alleged misuse of military funds. His successor as military comptroller, retired Major General Carlos Garcia, is in jail for similar corruption charges. - Rappler.com