THE Office of the Ombudsman has sought an order from the anti-graft court to immediately seize the properties and assets of former Justice Secretary Hernando “Nani” Perez, pending a civil suit that was filed against him.
In a statement Tuesday, the anti-graft office explained that the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment/garnishment is necessary to secure the government’s claim so as not to be left with proverbial “empty bag.”
On November 14, 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman filed the forfeiture case which was raffled off to the court’s Third Division.
The 15-page petition for forfeiture approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales included its request for the court to secure $2-million worth of Perez’ alleged ill-gotten wealth. Likewise named respondents were Perez’ wife Rosario as well as his brother-in-law Ramon Arceo Jr. and business associate Ernesto Escaler.
The writ sought covers all real and/or personal properties and assets, including funds, investments and bank accounts and other financial instruments owned by the respondents.
The case stemmed from an extortion complaint by Mario Crespo, also known as Mark Jimenez who is a former Manila representative. In 2001, Jimenez was allegedly forced to cough up $2 million for Perez and Escaler in exchange for the cessation of threats and intimidation against him.
Fund transactions and transfers from Jimenez’s bank accounts to the bank accounts of Perez, Escaler and Arceo were allegedly facilitated.
“Investigation further disclosed that Perez, his wife Rosario, and Escaler were all in Hong Kong at the crucial time when the fund transfers were made to Escaler’s bank account in Hong Kong,” the Ombudsman said.