Ex-general’s wife fails to attend Senate hearing-A A +A
Thursday, February 24, 2011
MANILA (Updated 11:37 a.m.) -- The spouse of a former general accused of receiving cash illegally drawn from military funds was not able to attend the Senate hearing Thursday.
In a letter, lawyer Rafael Zialcita said Erlinda Ligot, wife of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller Jacinto Ligot, is confined at the Veteran's Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City because of "headaches, abdominal pains, and other aches."
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee had subpoenaed Mrs. Ligot to attend the committee hearing today, Thursday to shed light on her frequent foreign trips and houses in the United States that she allegedly acquired.
However, Zialcita said Mrs. Ligot is presently undergoing various tests in the hospital.
"At any rate, she has nothing to contribute to the present investigation," the letter said.
During the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on February 18, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada told Jacinto Ligot to advise his wife to attend the hearings or face official summons.
Mrs. Ligot was invited to the last Senate hearing but begged off through a letter to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
She invoked her right against self-incrimination to explain her absence from the hearing.
In previous hearings, Estrada said Mrs. Ligot owned at least eight houses in the US.
She said her lawyers advised her that the properties are covered by the sub-judice rule, where parties cannot divulge details of cases pending with the court.
Former general Ligot also cited this rule when Estrada asked him about his wife's properties and travels, saying these were included in a forfeiture case against him.
"Furthermore, there were questions about how I allegedly acquired these properties, which questions tend to incriminate me. I would therefore like to invoke my right against self-incrimination," Mrs. Ligot wrote.
She also said that she will invoke the same right if asked about her travels, adding she would be unable to endure the pressure of appearing before senators.
She said even hearing her name mentioned at the hearings "brought back attacks of anxiety and hypertension."
Senator Estrada asked the Senate on Thursday to conduct hearing at Veterans Memorial Hospital where Mrs. Ligot is presently confined.
The hearing is ongoing as of this posting. (Sunnex)