Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Repost From Mark Meruenas of GMA News.TV

Guingona wants Ligots detained at Senate for 'faking illness'

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III says ex-military comptroller Jacinto Ligot and his wife should be detained at the Senate unless they cooperate with the inquiry on an alleged military fund scam. Mark Merueñas
Senate blue ribbon committee chairman, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, on Thursday said he wants retired Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and his wife to be detained at the Senate for evading an inquiry by allegedly claiming to have "fake illnesses."

Guingona also wanted the Ligots to be cited for contempt after snubbing Thursday's hearing on military corruption.

Mr. Ligot earlier said he and his wife could not attend the blue ribbon inquiry because he was suffering from flu while Erlinda was having palpitations and gastroenteritis.

This prompted the Senate to send a doctor to validate the Ligots' health claims.

After examining the couple, Dr. Mariano Blancia Jr. told senators that Mrs. Ligot's blood pressure was at 120/80 while her pulse rate was 80 per minute, both "normal."

Blancia said when he arrived at the Ligots' residence, Mrs. Ligot showed a certification from a family physician that she was suffering from diarrhea and palpitations the previous night (Wednesday).

"It's difficult to say whether she was faking her illness," Blancia said.

As for the former military comptroller, Blancia said Gen. Ligot "has no fever."

Nine votes needed

Upon learning the physician's findings, Guingona said he was recommending that the Ligot couple be cited for contempt.

Guingona said nine votes from the committee members are needed for the Ligots to be cited for contempt.

Asked until when the Ligots could be detained inside Senate grounds, Guingona said "until they show remorse."

Was sick but got better

Blancia said Mr. Ligot told him he also had fever on Wednesday and had just gotten better on Thursday.

The doctor said apart from an "increased" blood pressure of 160/90 and "nasal congestion," Mr. Ligot was fine.

Blancia was accompanied by another Senate doctor, Renato Sison, when he visited the Ligot residence.

"Mukhang kinakabahan, umiyak kung minsan at may anxiety," Blancia said, referring to Mrs. Ligot's condition during the check-up.

"[However] both could have attended [the senate hearing]," Blancia said.

Senate warning

The Senate blue ribbon committee warned the Ligots on Wednesday that they should answer the senators inquiries on military corruption or they would be cited for contempt.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said they have already signed the minutes of the meeting where they decided to give the Ligots another chance to answer questions related to corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Estrada said the committee will cite the Ligots in contempt if they will again keep invoking their right against self incrimination as they did in during the senate inquiry on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, the Senate failed to get any information from Mrs. Ligot who repeatedly refused to answer questions and often invoked her right against self incrimination.

She answered questions on her age, her college degree, her job, her children, their ages, the date of their marriage.

However, for security reasons, she did not answer the question on where they are staying as they were reportedly receiving death threats.

When Estrada asked Mrs. Ligot if she went to the United States, the latter invoked her right against self incrimination.

On inquiries about the Ligots' supposed properties in Cabernet and Stanton, California, Mrs. Ligot invoked her right against self incrimination.

She also refused to confirm that it was her signature that appeared in the documents on the two properties.

She also refused to give a specimen signature to compare with the one on the documents. – VVP, GMA News

Reposted From Mark Meruenas of GMA News.TV

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