NBI sues couple for graft

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has charged a Cebu municipal vice mayor and her husband, a high-ranking police official, for alleged violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with an alleged “unexplained” wealth involving over P106 million.

Charged before the Office of the Ombudsman were Ma. Luisa Loot, vice mayor of the municipality of Daanbantayan, Cebu and her husband, Sr. Supt. Vicente Loot, chief of Cebu Provincial Police Office.

Aside from violation of Section 7 in relation to Section 8 of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), the couple were also charged with violation of Section 2 of RA 1379 (Forfeiture of Unlawfully Acquired Property), violation of Section 8 (A) of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and violation of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code as Amended (Falsification of Public Documents).

Reports showed that Sr. Supt. Loot is assigned as the chief of Cebu Provincial Police Office. Prior to the present assignment, he was assigned as head of Regional Anti-Narcotics Office in Region 7.

On the other hand, vice mayor Loot served as mayor from 1998 up to 2007 in the municipality of Daanbantayan. Since she could no longer run for mayor after serving three consecutive terms as mayor, she sought to be elected as vice mayor of Daanbantayan in 2007 and won.

The criminal cases were based on the investigation and lifestyle check conducted by the NBI Anti-Graft Division headed by Lawyer Allan Contado.

NBI records showed that the couple sourced their income from salaries and from compensation from other businesses such as lending or financing, retail trade, recreational activities like cockpit operation and leasing of real estate.

Records further showed that the couple had total taxable income of P611,214 in 2005; P612,548 in 2006 and P604,680 in 2007.

But the couple reported in their joint statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) that in year 2005, they have net worth of P83,075,173 in 2005; P87,645,800 in 2006 and P106,701,628 for the year 2007.

The NBI said that the increase in net worth was not proportionate with the annual taxable income declared by the couple.

The NBI’s information sheets showed that based on the SALN for 2007, the increase in net worth was due to a rise in the amount of the couple’s real properties.

The couple own houses in Mango Green Village, Mandaue City and a condominium unit in Quezon City.

The NBI said that even with the increase in the couple’s liabilities, their annual income could not justify or explain the sources of the abrupt increase in assets. Philippine News Agency

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