Quezon City — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has directed the filing of a petition to initiate forfeiture proceedings against the estate of former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr. and his spouse Bai Laila Uy Ampatuan for properties acquired in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007 amounting to P54,965,526.88.
After conducting a lifestyle check investigation, Ombudsman investigators found that Ampatuan Sr’s wealth “is manifestly out of proportion to respondent’s salary as former Governor of Maguindanao and to their other lawful income and income from legitimately acquired properties.”
Details of the lifestyle check showed that based on Ampatuan’s income tax returns from 2001 to 2008, his net income was as follows:
Meantime, based on Ampatuan’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth from 2000 to 2007, he had the following assets:
However, the Ombudsman found that Ampatuan failed to declare 15 real estate properties located in Cotobato and Davao cities, with a total declared value of P55,134,283.10. Not only that, the former Governor failed to declare 25 vehicles, 10 of which were paid in cash by the Ampatuans. The total value of the 25 vehicles is P27,567,000.00. In addition, the Amptuans failed to declare ownership of 23 firearms valued at P3,838,000.00.
As regards the criminal charges for Perjury, Falsification of Public Documents, violation of Section 8 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and violation of Section 7 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the same were dismissed on account of Ampatuan, Sr.’s death on 17 July 2015.
In its Joint Resolution approved on 23 December 2016, Ombudsman Morales stated that “under Section 2 of Republic Act 1379, whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired.”
The details of the computation of Ampatuan Sr’s illegal wealth are as follows:
TOTAL Unexplained Wealth
As part of defense, the Ampatuans “challenged the Ombudsman findings and reiterated that the properties he allegedly owns were either registered in the name of another person or lacked evidence to support the claimed ownership thereof.” Respondents also defended themselves saying that Ampatuan’s father “was an affluent man” from whom “he inherited several properties.” Andal, Sr. also claimed that the firearms “were given by friends, relatives and political allies through the years without monetary consideration.”
Ombudsman Morales junked their defenses and ruled that “there is clear and convincing evidence that Ampatuan accumulated wealth manifestly disproportionate to his lawful and legitimate income for 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007, and he and his family failed to lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income due to their extravagant and ostentatious display of wealth.”
She finally added that “Ampatuan’s death does not operate to extinguish his liabilities under R.A. No. 1379 and the government is not precluded from recovering his unexplained wealth. Notably, a petition for forfeiture may still be filed against his estate.”
R.A. No. 1379 is entitled “An Act Declaring Forfeiture in favor of the State any Property found to have been Unlawfully acquired by any public official or employee and providing for the proceedings therefor.” (PIO-Ombudsman)