Arroyo's husband to sue helicopter supplier

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011


MANILA (Updated 5:09 p.m.) -- The camp of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo plans to sue LionAir Inc. president Archibald Po for linking him in the alleged anomalous purchase of secondhand helicopters for the Philippine National Police (PNP), his lawyer said.

Toto Ferrer, Arroyo's counsel, said Po failed to present documents that would link the husband of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the anomalous sale of used helicopters.

Po appeared in Tuesday's resumption of the hearing of Senate blue ribbon committee on the alleged anomalous purchase in 2009 of three Robinsons Raven helicopters for the PNP's Special Action Force.

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Ferrer said his client's name and signature was not indicated in the documents Po presented to the senators during the seven-hour hearing Tuesday.

Po, in a sworn statement, said Arroyo inquired about choppers in 2003 but all have been loaned by the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., who was running for president against his wife, who is now Pampanga congresswoman.

The businessman suggested that the First Gentleman buy his own choppers instead, and Arroyo agreed to purchase the five Robinson R44 Raven.

He said the five purchased helicopters were all registered under Asian Spirit.

Po said that in 2006, Arroyo asked him to sell his helicopters at US $350,000 each. Arroyo bought the five choppers for only US $475,000.

"Sometime in 2006, FG (First Gentleman) told me that he was selling the helicopters at US Do11ar 350,000 each. I commented that the price is on the high side for pre-owned helicopters, but FG said that was the price he was willing to sell the helicopters," Po said.

Arroyo told LionAir to prepare a proposal for the Manila Aerospace Products Trading (Maptra) in 2009, he said.

In November 2009, LionAir sold the two pre-owned helicopters to Maptra. It was Maptra that sold the choppers to the PNP.

Payments were delivered to Arroyo, Po said.

"On l6 April 2010, Maptra paid us in full. I then delivered and turned over the full payment of Maptra to FG," he said.

Maptra owner Hilario de Vera, for his part, said "the PNP-Bids and Awards Committee secretariat had asked him to sign supply contract for choppers. The supply contract indicated the choppers were brand new."

De Vera questioned why the choppers were declared as brand new, but still, he signed the contract.

He added Po gave him the assurance to deliver second-hand choppers following the order from First Gentleman Arroyo.

De Vera said he confronted Po for the misdeclaration, but Po assured that no one will question the deal.

"Po had assured me the PNP had orders from Mike Arroyo to accept the choppers I will deliver," he added.

He also said that the two choppers delivered to PNP had different serial numbers than those in his proposal to PNP.

Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, earlier filed a resolution to hold an inquiry on a purchase in 2009 of three Robinson Raven helicopters for the PNP’s Special Action Force.

They said that according to flight records, two of the helicopters had flown for around two years before the PNP bought them.

Earlier, Lacson in a press statement said, “Initial findings would indicate that the previous and original owners of the pre-owned, yet sold as brand-new, light police operational helicopters are the Arroyos.”

Maptra and the PNP may have entered into an anomalous contract that was “manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government,” the senators added. (Sunnex)

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