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DOJ to file tax evasion raps vs Ligot couple

The Department of Justice has recommended the filing of charges against former Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and his wife, Erlinda. In a resolution, the DOJ found merit in the complaint of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and said there is probable cause to file tax evasion charges against the couple. The resolution was prepared by DOJ Senior State Prosecutor Stewart Mariano and was approved by Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Miguel Gudio and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano. GMA News Online is still trying to reach Ligot's lawyer, Rafael Zialcita, for comment as of posting time. The Ligots have already questioned the BIR's claim that they owe the government P428 million in aggregate tax liabilities. In their 27-page counter-affidavit filed last April, the spouses said the BIR violated their right to due process because no formal assessment of their tax liabilities was conducted before the complaint was filed on March 10 this year. "The complaint did not issue a formal assessment against us which is required before the filing of a criminal complaint for tax evasion. Considering the haste of the complainant (BIR) in wanting to file the instant complaint, the BIR skipped the issuance of the required and necessary formal assessment," read a portion of their counter-affidavit. They added that the BIR's computation of P428 million in aggregate tax liabilities is "erroneous and "is based on imaginary bank deposits and properties in the names of other people." The Ligots can still file a motion for reconsideration with the DOJ panel led by Mariano. They can also submit to De Lima a petition for review in appealing the resolution. - VVP, GMA News