Press Release
August 11, 2011


The standard specifications for the purchase of helicopters by the Philippine National Police (PNP) were changed to tailor fit former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo-owned choppers, Senator Franklin Drilon said Thursday, in what senators dubbed as a highly irregular transaction in the previous administration.

During the continuation of the Blue Ribbon committee hearing on the purchase of helicopters that were later sold as brand new to the PNP, Drilon said that documents would indicate that the PNP, through the Uniform and Equipment Standardization Board (UESB), and the National Police Commission modified the specifications of the helicopters to conform with the technical characteristics of Robinson R44 Raven 1 choppers, which, according to witnesses privy to the negotiations, were actually owned by Mike Arroyo.

"What we're looking now is that the specifications were tailor fit for the helicopters of Mike Arroyo... After the original specifications were drafted by the original committee, subsequently, the specifications were changed," said Drilon.

According to Drilon, PNP-UESB then headed by Deputy Director General Emmanuel Carta drafted the original specifications through Resolution No. 2008-01 issued on February 11, 2008, among others, a minimum power rating of 225-horsepower, 2,500-pound minimum gross weight, minimum cruise speed of 110 knots, minimum range of 229 miles, and minimum height capability of 12,000 feet.

Modifications on the standard specifications were made, however, on April 9, 2008 through Resolution No. 2008-16 issued by PNP-UESB chairman Deputy Director General Ismael Rafanan, which required, among others, a 200-horsepower minimum power rating, 2,600-pound maximum gross weight, 100-knot minimum cruise speed, 300-mile minimum range, and 14,000 feet maximum height capability.

Manila Aerospace Products Trading carried the Arroyo Raven 1 choppers for the PNP bidding. Raven 1 choppers had a power rating of 200-horsepower, gross weight of 2,400 pounds, cruise speed of 113 knots, maximum range of 350 miles, and height capability of 14,000 feet.

On the other hand, Beeline, which was declared as the failed bidder because Enstrom 280FX and Enstrom F28F choppers did not conform to the declared specifications set by the PNP and-Napolcom. Enstrom choppers are equipped with 225-horsepower, weigh 2,600 pounds, travel at only 75 knots, can reach only 263.5 miles at a maximum, and has only 12,000 feet service ceiling.

"The original specifications would have disqualified Raven 1," Drilon stated.

"This is really a mystery. It is quite obvious what the pattern was--to tailor fit the specifications in order that Raven 1 will be the only equipment that will qualify because Enstrom, which was supplied by Beeline, would not qualify," he added.

Mike Arroyo acquired five helicopters for the 2004 presidential bid of his wife, former President now congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Two of the choppers--the Raven 1s--were sold to the PNP as brand new.

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