Ligot's brod-in-law admits owning P25-M condo

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 03 2011 01:05 PM | Updated as of Mar 03 2011 09:33 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The brother-in-law of former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot on Thursday admitted owning a P25-million condominium in upscale Fort Bonifacio Global City, but refused to give many details about his sources of income and wealth.

Speaking before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on military corruption,  Yambao admitted to owning an Essensa condominium unit in Fort Bonifacio, which he purchased from his sister for P25 million in 2003.

He declined to say who was occupying the condo unit but admitted that he is paying the condo's monthly fees.

He also refused to say his current address for security reasons, adding that he could be targeted by kidnappers.

Yambao refused to directly answer many of the questions during the hearing, citing his right against self-incrimination. He said he has a tax evasion case pending before the Court of Appeals.

Chocolate supplier

Yambao said he and his wife owned a confectionery business that supplied chocolates to Rustan's, SM Supermarket and Landmark from 1988 until around 2002.

He said the business allowed him to travel and meet suppliers and manufacturers from as far as Europe.

However, he admitted closing operations and junking the assets because the business was losing money.

He also dabbled in the stock market but declined to say how much he earned there.

Yambao said he paid final taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) but forgot to keep the receipt, which allegedly led to his tax evasion case.

He also admitted owning a house in Melbourne, Australia for about 8-9 years before selling it.

Yambao said he is a permanent resident of Australia from 1991 until the present, and claimed to have paid taxes for any assets there.

"When my family was in Australia, I would sometimes stay there for 2 months, 1 month. It depends on the need. Maximum was twice a year," he said.

Asked if he would supply the committee with his income tax returns in Australia, he said he can only try since he is now on the immigration watch list upon the request of Senator Drilon.

Denies owning P255 million

However, Yambao denied owning some P255 million in bank deposits for 5 years, saying he would not agree to be used as a dummy by his brother-in-law, Ligot, who is accused of salting away millions of pesos in military funds.

"I will never admit that I am a dummy. I will never be used as a dummy,” he told senators.

He denied amassing millions in bank deposits from 1999-2003 but refused to open up his bank accounts for further scrutiny to the Senate until he could confirm that he owns 3 bank accounts allegedly identified as his by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

"After my counsels check the veracity of the statements, mag-usap po tayo kung ano ang nararapat," he said.

For his part, Sen. Franklin Drilon said Yambao could face tax evasion charges before the Bureau of Internal Revenue for failing to declare the bank deposits in his income tax returns during the 5-year period.

He also noted that Yambao purchased high-priced condominium units and luxury vehicles during the same 5-year period.

Total tax liabilities of Yambao based on the deposits could reach P91 million, Drilon said.