MANILA, Philippines – Jose Miguel T. Arroyo has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to dismiss criminal complaints filed against him in connection with the alleged fraudulent sale of second-hand choppers priced as brand new to the Philippine National Police in 2009.
Accompanied by lawyer Edna Herrera-Batacan, the husband of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo submitted his 30-page counter affidavit declaring that he had already assigned his 998,980 shares in Lourdes T. Arroyo Inc. (LTA) in favor of Benito Aaraneta way back March 15, 2001.
In support of this claim, he presented copies of certifications from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on the full payments of capital gains tax totaling P495.88-M and documentary stamp tax worth P37,462.50.
The former First Gentleman argued that the so-called “chopper deal” started on December 11, 2003 – more than 2 years after his divestment – when LTA made an initial deposit of US$500,000 to Robinson Helicopter Company via electronic transfer.
“The truth is that I never paid any money to Mr. Po or Lionair and I had no part in his acquisition of the five helicopters from Robinson Helicopter Corp. It was LTA, a corporation with a distinct and separate juridical personality, thru its president, Mr. Ignacio T. Arroyo, who transacted with Mr. Po for the advancement of money…,” he said.
Mr. Arroyo claimed the sum of $500,000 was a loan granted by LTA to Lionair’s Archibald Po under an ‘advanced lease scheme’. Out of the five Robinson choppers acquired by Lionair, two were eventually sold to the PNP Special Action Force in 2009.
“The fact remains that the five helicopters purchased by Lionair from RHC, including the two units eventually sold to the Philippine National Police, belonged to Mr. Po’s Lionair or Asian Spirit and that they were never owned by me or LTA,” the respondent explained.
He added that the Application for Export Certificate of Airworthiness and Export Certificates for the two choppers issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration identified the purchaser as Lionair.
Likewise, the certificates of registration issued by the Air Transportation Office (ATO) showed that the choppers were owned by Asian Spirit / Lionair Inc.
Mr Arroyo denied any part in the Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp (Maptra), the firm that supposedly acquired two choppers from Lionair and sold them to the PNP.
Mr. Arroyo, former Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, former PNP chief Jesus Versoza, businessman Hilario De Vera of Maptra, and 32 others including PNP officers and officials of the National Police Commission were named respondents by the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office based on separate complaints filed by the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
Arroyo, husband of former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was named in the complaint based on allegations that he was the real owner of two second-hand Robinsons choppers that were reportedly sold as “brand new” to the PNP.
Also implicated in the complaint were 28 PNP officers and personnel who were members of the PNP Bids and Awards Committee, Negotiation Team and Inspection and Acceptance Team.
The Ombudsman-FIO is seeking indictment for graft, violations of the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2003 or RA 9184 and falsification of public document. – Rappler.com