August 2, 2011
Mike Arroyo to be summoned in next Blue Ribbon hearing after being tagged as owner of 2 second hand choppers sold to PNP as brand new
THE SENATE Blue Ribbon Committee will summon in its next hearing on August 11, 2011 former First Gentleman Miguel 'Mike' Arroyo and his alleged accountant named Rowena del Rosario after Mr. Arroyo was named by Lionair President Archibald Po as the owner of two second-hand helicopters that were sold to the Philippine National Police (PNP) as brand-new in 2009, according to Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman TG Guingona.
In his affidavit read during the Senate hearing Tuesday, Mr. Po said that he first met Mr. Arroyo in 2003 when he was called to his office to inquire on the possible chartering of helicopters but he told him that there were no longer any helicopters available "as they had all been loaned to Fernando Poe Jr. who was running for President against his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo."
He instead suggested that Mr. Arroyo to just purchase his own helicopters and he was given instructions by the former First Gentleman to go ahead and purchase five Robinson R44 Raven 1 helicopters.
Based on the invoice from Robinson presented during the hearing, the cost of the brand new helicopters was $312,450 each (or around P17.5 million each at P56 exchange rate in 2004).
Mr. Po added that sometime in 2006, Mr. Arroyo asked him to put up the five helicopters for sale at $350,000 each. "I commented that the price was on the high side of pre-owned helicopters, but he said that was the price he was willing to sell the helicopters."
When asked how much was the fair price for the helicopters in 2006, Mr. Po said the approximate price should be between $250,000 and $280,000.
Also present during the hearing was Manila Aerospace Trading Corp. (MAPTRA) President Hilario de Vera who said in his affidavit read during the hearing that it was Mr. Arroyo who ordered the sale of the pre-owned helicopters to the PNP.
He said that he was worried because Lionair proposed pre-owned helicopters when the PNP wanted brand new choppers but Mr. Po had told him that: "Sinabi ko na sa iyo huwag kang mag-alala dahil kahit ano ideliver mo sa kanila, walang magtatanong at tatanggapin yan kasi may order na sila galing kay FG kung ano dapat gawin." ("I have told you that you should not worry because whatever we deliver to them, nobody will ask any questions and they will accept it because they have orders already coming from FG on what to do.")
After the sale was completed, Mr. Po said that he personally delivered the payment of $700,000 or $350,000 each to Mr. Arroyo for the payment of the two second-hand helicopters sold to the PNP.
The Blue Ribbon also ordered Mr. Po to submit a supplemental affidavit that would further explain the specific circumstances of his transactions with Mr. Arroyo, including the so-called "Statement of Account" for Mr. Arroyo that Lionair kept in its records.
Sen. Guingona concluded that Tuesday's proceedings revealed that Mr. Arroyo was the real owner of the second-hand helicopters and Lionair was just used as a "front" for the former First Gentleman.
He added it was disclosed during the hearing that Mr. Arroyo benefitted from the sale of the second-hand helicopters to the PNP.
He said Mr. Arroyo would have to be summoned to the next hearing to explain his involvement in the alleged anomalous transaction.
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