Ex-AFP chief faces perjury conviction

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2011 09:29 PM | Updated as of Feb 22 2011 04:09 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman has asked the Sandiganbayan First Division to declare former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lisandro C. Abadia guilty of perjury for an alleged misrepresentation in his 1992 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) to mask a P2.55-million rise in the sum of his properties.

In their 41-page memorandum, Prosecution Bureau VI director Diosdado V. Calonge and assistant special prosecutor Maria Janina J. Hidalgo said they have presented "proof beyond reasonable doubt" that Abadia lied about the source of the sudden windfall he received in 1992.

In his 1992 SALN, Abadia declared the amount of P2,550,000 as "family income" that he identified as "proceeds from the case of real property" pertaining to a parcel of land in Dumlog, Talisay, Cebu, which was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 2264.

However, prosecutors presented evidence showing that the same property was registered in the Cebu Province Registry of Deeds in the names of "Spouses Lisandro C. Abadia and Violeta C. Abadia" up to June 25, 2006.

The same evidence showed TCT No. 2264 was canceled only on June 26, 2006 on orders of Registry of Deeds official Manolo D. Rubi and replaced by TCT No. TP-30538 issued in favor of spouses Emilio C. Rafols Sr. and Erlinda M. Rafols.

The issuance of the new land title was based on a deed of absolute sale signed between spouses Abadias and Rafols on September 30, 2002 - 10 years after the former Armed Forces chief claimed the sale was supposed to have taken place.

In addition to the disparity in date, prosecutors said the official value of the property was listed only at P200,000 or P2.35 million less than what Abadia declared in his 1992 SALN.

"Undisputed evidence of circumstances revealed that accused knew there was no sale of property in 1992. The presumption that an unlawful act was done with an unlawful intent was not disputed. This false declaration of income was willfully made to mask the drastic and precipitate rise in his net worth," the prosecution said.

Perjury carries a penalty of imprisonment ranging from 4 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4 months.

In an April 16, 2008 resolution penned by Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo, the graft court declared that unless Abadia can refute evidence offered against him, "the prosecution's testimonial and documentary evidence are sufficient for purposes of finding accused guilty of the offense charged."