State prosecutors denied accusations of forum shopping in the P55.6-million forfeiture case against former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot and his immediate family before the Sandiganbayan.
In a preliminary hearing on Wednesday afternoon, the anti-graft court’s Second Division checked whether both parties submitted their respective memoranda on the matter.
“A decision in the AMLC [Anti-Money Laundering Council] case will not put to rest the issue of ‘manifestly-out-of-proportion’ acquired properties, nor will the decision in the instant case settle the issue of unlawful or money-laundering activity,” state prosecutors said.
Since there is no pending suit, they further asserted that the State has sufficiently proven that it is not guilty of splitting a single cause of action or forum shopping.
Edgardo Yambao and Gilda Alfonso-Velasquez, the brother and cousin of Ligot’s wife Erlinda, had accused the State of splitting their forfeiture cases between the Sandiganbayan and the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 22 to gain a favorable decision from either court.
They also claimed that the two petitions to freeze their assets in favor of the State are the same, but state prosecutors argued that one case is in view of money laundering while the one at Sandiganbayan pertains to wealth not proportional to Ligot’s income as a public officer.
If the First Division junks the case, Ligot will be left with just one other forfeiture case at the Fourth Division, worth P135 million.