AFP-RSBS executives convicted over P341million land scam deal

Facade of the Sandiganbayan complex in Quezon City ©
Facade of the Sandiganbayan complex in Quezon City ©

THE Sandiganbayan has convicted Brig. General Jose Ramiscal Jr., the former president of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Retirement and Separation Benefit System (RSBS), and four other persons for malversation of public funds and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 14 to 20 years.

Aside from imprisonment, Ramiscal and his co-accused, Atty. Julian Alzaga and Atty. Manuel Satuito, both RSBS executives; and property owners Elizabeth Liang and Jesus Garcia were also meted by the anti-graft court a total fine of P250,318,200.00.

The conviction stemmed from the anomalous purchase of a real property in Calamba, Laguna owned by Liang and Garcia.

The Office of the Ombudsman, in a statement, said the prosecution proved that in 1996, Ramiscal, orchestrated the acquisition of four parcels of land owned by Concord Resources, Inc. covering 130,500 square meters intended as a right of way project.

Ramiscal claimed that Liang and Garcia, president and treasurer of Concord Resources, were paid P341.3 million. However, official documents show that the notarized deed of sale reflected only P91 million as the actual purchase price. The deed was signed by Ramiscal, Liang and Garcia.

In his defense, Ramiscal claimed that “the transactions were in order and that it underwent usual accounting auditing rules and regulations.” He added that his signatures in the deed reflecting the P91million purchase price were falsified.

However, Sandiganbayan rejected Ramiscal’s defense and said it “conducted its own examination and arrived at the conclusion that even to the naked eye, the signature of Ramiscal appearing on the Deed of Sale for P91,024,800.00 and the Deed of Sale for P341,343,000.00 and on other documents on record, are significantly similar.”

The anti-graft court added that “the documents do not prove Ramiscal’s claim that the deed of sale for P341 million was the real of deed of sale entered into by the parties.”

“It is through this falsified deed of sale that the Government’s defraudation was made possible” as the “difference of P250,318,200.00 is unaccounted for,” the Sandiganbayan stated.

It also added that “in the entire scheme of things, all the accused Ramiscal, Alzaga, Satuito, Liang and Garcia, performed acts vital to the completion and accomplishment of a plan, that is, to defraud the government.”

Nelson Flores, J.D., MSCK
A former reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Standard Today, and a regular columnist of the Metro Manila based daily tabloid newspaper Hataw; Nelson Flores is also the former Senior Associate Editor of the Houston based Fil-Am Press and former anchor of dzXL and dzRJ's weekend talk show Usaping Bayan. Mr. Flores has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Law degrees from the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University and a holder of a study certificate from the Diocesan House of Studies, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). He is a Freemason and member of Reagan Lodge 1037 in Houston Heights under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas and a member of the Missionary Society of Christ the King (MSCK).

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