No paper trail on US houses leading to Ligots

by Nadia Trinidad, North America News Bureau chief

Posted at Feb 18 2011 10:24 PM | Updated as of Feb 20 2011 09:28 AM

No paper trail on US houses leading to Ligots 1CARMEL, California - A 2-story home in an affluent neighborhood in Salinas, California tells a slightly different version from the one told at a Senate inquiry in the Philippines regarding the ill-gotten wealth of former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot.

A Filipino family lives here. Owner Tony Coloma said he built this house in 1996.

It has been alleged this property is registered under Erlinda Yambao Ligot, wife of the retired military comptroller being grilled by lawmakers on the alleged corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

On the alleged corruption in the AFP, Coloma begged off from giving a statement on camera. But he did confirm that retired generals Ligot and Carlos Garcia are his good friends.

He said they go way back.

Ligot, who would later assume the AFP comptrollership, was once a student at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey.

Coloma met them there when he was working as the school's computer specialist. He would later work for the US Department of Defense.

He said the only connection that binds Mrs. Ligot to this house are her occasional visits to his family whenever she's in this part of California.

On the surface, the property documents detailing ownership and title history appear to confirm Coloma's claim.

But Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada also told the Blue Ribbon Committee that 2 more houses in seaside California are under the name of Erlinda Yambao Ligot.No paper trail on US houses leading to Ligots 2

No one was home when we paid a visit.

Public records also appear to show that there are no clear connections between the properties and retired Lt. Gen. Ligot.

An Erlinda Nebida, instead of an Erlinda Yambao Ligot, is the registered owner of this house.

Another house and a caregiver home in Carmel are also allegedly owned by Mrs. Ligot.

But again, property documents point to different owners, past and present.

No paper trail on US houses leading to Ligots 3The possibility remains, of course, that any one of these owners could have acted as dummies.

Until more compelling evidence surfaces to link these properties to the wife of a retired general who is said to have lived beyond her husband's means, the search for answers and the quest for justice may have to continue down a lonely and frustrating road.