Press Release
March 29, 2011

Blue Ribbon hearing

Mr. Chairman.

Before we begin, I would like to express the sentiments of our people --- the silent majority --- who have been patiently following our hearings, and who are now frustrated and disappointed beyond description over the difficulty in ferreting the truth in the past eight hearings. Some are even seething with anger.

That frustration and anger Mr. Chairman, is best expressed in today's newspaper headlines: AFP tops most corrupt agency of government, per Pulse Asia Survey.

I have to tell the Ligots to crush and burn their perception, or inane, belief that they can get away with their unexplained wealth just by dodging our questions and invoking their right against self-incrimination. We are not playing games here.

You know, the more you evade our questions, the deeper you sink into the quagmire of shame and disgrace in the eyes of our people. They do not see innocence, not even cleverness, each time you dodge our questions. What they see is a vain attempt to deceive the Filipino people. I warn you that the more you continue to do that, the more you fuel their anger.

Let me also warn the lawyers of the Ligots that they are not doing their clients and our country a favor by taking advantage of the weaknesses of the system in order to hide the truth. Take the high road. We all want to see a modern and corrupt-free Armed Forces of the Philippines. Be an agent of change in an organization that urgently needs some housecleaning.

Records show that on April 15, 2005, a plunder case was filed by private citizens before the Office of the Ombudsman against General & Mrs. Ligot. That case has gathered dust in the Office of the Ombudsman, not having been resolved for nearly 4 years now. A Forfeiture case was filed against the Ligots on September 12, 2005 before the Office of the Sandiganbayan. That cased covered only certain real properties and cash deposits of P135 million, just a fraction of the more than P740 million deposited in various dollar and peso bank accounts from 2001 to 2005. After over 3 years, the Ligots have yet to start presenting their evidence.

The source of the Ligots' wealth is a mystery to all of us. This is precisely the reason why we are inviting them here. Our people can readily attest that we have tried everything to make them explain and shed light on this matter. Instead of cooperating, General Ligot, Mrs. Ligot and Mr. Yambao are zealously keeping the information from us. Those who have been avidly following the hearings found the arrogance of Mr. Yambao truly infuriating. I am telling you, Mr. Yambao, that the public is watching you. Do not delude yourself that you can get away with your mysterious wealth and the Filipino people will not mind at all. The day of reckoning will catch up with you.

We know that there are more properties out there owned by the Ligots. For example, we have information that there are vast tracts of land in Bukidnon owned by the Ligots thru a corporation called PARMIL FARMS, Inc.: Over 9 hectares of corn lands and poultry farms in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, worth millions of pesos. Hence, we are appealing to your sense of decency: stop invoking your right against self-incrimination to the point of abusing that right. Stop concealing the truth from us. You may have escaped the long arm of the law for years now, but we will not stop until you are punished for the crimes you have committed against the Filipino people.

Having said that, let me take this opportunity to urge the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to relentlessly pursue, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve immediately, the tax evasion cases filed last March 20 against Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, Mrs. Clarita Garcia, Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot, Mrs. Erlinda Ligot and Mr. Edgardo Yambao.

Finally, this Committee, in its report, should recommend that new forfeiture cases be filed against the Ligots and Mr. Yambao to include the properties and money that have not been included yet in the pending forfeiture case. We also recommend that anti-graft cases be filed against the General Jacinto Ligot, Mrs. Erlinda Ligot and Mr. Edgardo Yambao. Our people have grown tired and weary of Senate investigations that led to nowhere because of the failure of the Ombudsman to file cases against those involved in corruption scandals. However, this time, we will not disappoint the Filipino people.

Let us in the Senate instill the fear of God and the fear of law into the hearts of the culprits.

Thank you.

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