Mike Arroyo withdraws request to travel

Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel 'Mike' Arroyo wants to keep the option of questioning probable cause in his graft case over the chopper scam

NOT TRAVELING. Before the Sandiganbayan Second Division, Mike Arroyo withdraws his request to travel Friday.

MANILA, Philippines – Former First Genteman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo on Friday, June 15, withdrew his motion to travel before the Sandiganbayan Second Division to retain his right to question probable cause in his graft case.

Mr Arroyo requested for the withdrawal Friday afternoon during a proceeding initially meant to be a conditional arraignment for his graft case over the so-called chopper scam. 

The court warned Mr Arroyo that going through conditional arraignment, which would speed up proceedings, would mean waiving his right to question probable cause. This could also affect the case of his other co-accused, the court said.

Nagpasya po ang aking kliyente, si Atty Jose Miguel Arroyo, na ipagpaliban muna ang kanyang paglalakbay sa ibayong dagat upang itong remedyong ito na pagfa-file ng motion for judicial determination of probable cause ay amin pong magawa,” his lawyer Ferdinand Topacio told reporters.

(Our client, Atty Jose Miguel Arroyo, has decided to postpone his travel overseas so we can keep the remedy of filing the motion for judicial determination of probable cause.)

Initially, the former First Gentleman wanted to be conditionally arraigned if the court would allow him to travel Saturday, June 16. Before the proceeding, his lawyer Ferdinand Topacio told reporters this was meant to assure the court that Mr Arroyo’s trial would push through even in his absence.

‘Overpriced choppers’

Filed by the Ombudsman, the graft case was based on an Ombudsman probe on the sale of two second-hand choppers priced as brand new in 2009 and 2010. The PNP paid P34.64-M in this deal. (Read: Chopper scam: Mike Arroyo, 21 others sued.)

This graft case, which is pending before the Sandiganbayan Second Division, prevented his flight to Japan and Hong Kong initially scheduled for Saturday, June 16.

He faces another graft case before the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division along with his wife, detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and former Commission on Elections chair Benjamin Abalos. (Read: ‘Not guilty’: Arroyo couple arraigned.)

The Fourth Division had given him a travel permit Wednesday, June 13, before it was learned that a hold-departure order from the Second Division could prevent his planned departure. (Read: Sandiganbayan order blocks Mike Arroyo flight.) – Rappler.com