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General’s wife and company unable to attend Senate investigation because of health problems

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Due to health reasons, four invited resource persons for the Senate probe into the supposed corruption in the military did not show up, urging the chamber to look into the genuineness of their reported ailments.

Those who were not present  and gave medical certificates to the blue ribbon committee were Erlinda Ligot, wife of former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot, former Armed Forces chief of Staff Roy Cimatu, former Commission on Audit commissioner Raul Flores, and Divinina Cabrera, former resident auditor of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Mrs. Ligot, through her lawyer, said to  the committee that she has been confined at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City since February 22 because of headaches, abdominal pains and “other aches.”

The Senate quickly sent its doctor to the hospital on Thursday. In his report to the committee, Dr. Mariano Blancha of the Senate clinic confirmed that Mrs. Ligot was confined there.

Blancha said Mrs Ligot was observed to be “emotional” and “crying” at all times.

Because of her current condition, the doctor agreed that Mrs. Ligot could not really attend this Wednesday’s hearing but said that in next hearings, she might be able to show up with the company of her physician.

However Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada asked the committee if it could conduct hearings at the hospital to accommodate Mrs. Ligot.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, committee chairman, said the committee may grant Estrada’s request but it would also have to depend on  the results of Mrs Ligot’s medical check-ups to make sure if she’s fit to  face the hearing.

Meanwhile, aside from Mrs. Ligot, Guingona said the committee also got medical certificates from Cabrera and Flores, who were  accused of receiving money from the military to  conceal the alleged irregularities by some erring officials.

 Senator stated that there seems to be a seeming pattern of people getting sick when invited in congressional hearings, which made him to order the Senate doctors to also check the authenticity of their ailments.

“Gusto lang naming ipaalam kung totoo man yung sakit [We just want to know if they are really sick], we will honor that sapagkat kung talagang may sakit talagang dapat nasa hospital [because if they’re really sick, they have to be in the hospital],” Guingona said.

But what is unacceptable, Guingona said, was if the illness was only meant to avoid congressional hearings.

Guingona sent out a warning to doctors and physicians  conspiring with their patients in issuing medical certificates even if they were not really sick.


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