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By Vittorio Hernandez
Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
The Philippine Department of Justice recommended filing charges against former Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and his wife, Erlinda, for tax evasion.
The recommendation was based on a complaint by the Bureau of Internal Revenue that there is probable cause to file tax evasion raps for the couple's total tax liabilities of $10 million (PHP 428 million) covering the years 2001 to 2004.
The Ligots, however, questioned the tax agency's complaint. The couple claimed the BIR denied them due process because of no formal assessment of their tax liabilities was made before the complaint was filed on March 10.
The couple said the law requires the issuance of a formal assessment before a criminal complaint for tax evasion can be filed by the BIR. The Justice Department said a formal assessment is not required.
The Ligots are also being probed by the government for an alleged scam concerning the AFP funds. The former general's wife has been accused of going on shopping sprees abroad with her plane ticket and shopping money allegedly taken from the military funds.
When Erlinda Ligot was called by the Senate to testify, she broke down and cited health reasons for snubbing the chamber's investigation. When the couple finally testified under threat of contempt of the Senate, the Ligots consistently invoked their right against self-incrimination.
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