Senate wants Mike Arroyo charged over choppers deal-A A +A
Thursday, October 13, 2011
MANILA (Updated 11:20 a.m.) -- The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Thursday said it found conspiracy to cheat the Philippine National Police (PNP) in an anomalous purchase of helicopters in 2009.
"This committee finds conspiracy among and between (Jose Miguel) Mike Arroyo and the officers of the PNP," Senator Teofisto Guingona III, committee chairman, said at a press conference Thursday.
He said former Local Government secretary Ronaldo Puno, former PNP chief Jesus Versoza, and other police officials were in a "scheming conspiracy" under the influence of Arroyo, the husband of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
He said they should be charged with graft for the "grossly disadvantageous" deal. "No doubt, the helicopters sold to PNP were second-hand," Guingona said.
He said the basis for the recommendation could be summed up with three words: Luma, Lamang, and Labag. "Luma ang helicopters, Lamang ang nagbenta ng helicopters, Labag sa batas ang ginawang bentahan," he said.
Two of the three helicopters that the PNP bought were second-hand when the contract required new units.
He added the deal cheated the Filipino people of around P62.7 million since the PNP paid brand-new prices for the helicopters.
"Jose Miguel Arroyo conspired with private individuals and officers of the Philippine National Police," Guingona charged, adding this violated anti-graft laws and the government procurement law.
The committee also asked Ombudsman to investigate Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo for allegedly covering up for his brother.
Guingona then recommended amendments to Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, providing stiffer penalties for graft by increasing years of imprisonment from six years to 12 years and increase the prescription period of offenses from 15 years to 20 years following the anomalous chopper deal.
Earlier, Senator Panfilo Lacsonn and Guingona filed a resolution to have the Senate look into the allegedly anomalous purchase.
The resolution said the PNP bought three Robinson Raven light operational helicopters (LPOHs) from Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp. in 2009.
The two senators said two of the three helicopters, which were supposed to be new, had been flying since 2004 based on their flight logs.
Guingona and Lacson said the helicopters, one "equipped" and two standard helicopters, did not conform to the requirements for the contract, which was for three equipped helicopters.
The resolution said the purchase was approved by then PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa. (Sunnex)