MANILA – The Office of the Ombudsman has approved the filing of forfeiture proceedings against former Justice Secretary Hernando “Nani” Perez in the Sandiganbyan.
The procedure is aimed at recovering $2 million handed to him by Mark Jimenez to allegedly stop his harassment during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Perez’s wife, Rosario, his brother-in-law Ramon Antonio Arceo Jr. and business associate Ernest DL Escaler DL Escaler. Perez who served as justice secretary from 2001 to 2003, were also included in the forfeiture petition.
In exchange for the payment of $2 million in order to stop the threats against him, Jimenez was “forced to give in to the demand of Perez and Escaler,” sometime in February 2001, according to the petition.
Complying with the demand, a series of fund transfers to the bank accounts of the three respondents were made by Jimenez.
During the time the transfers were made, the investigation indicated that Perez and his wife Escaler were in Hongkong.
Records also showed Perez’s failure to disclose his 2001 and 2002 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) where he and his wife’s financial interest reached at least $1.7 million following the transfer of the money to their accounts by Escaler.
A writ issuance was necessary in securing the claim of the government, according to the petition. This is in order to ensure that it is not left with the so called “empty bag.”