Former Arroyo staff denies keeping government-owned PajeroBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines – The former staff of Ang Galing Pinoy Partylist Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo on Friday denied ownership of the government-owned vehicle tagged in the arrest of an American national allegedly involved in illegal drugs trade.
Lawyer Antonio Mariano Almeda, in a statement sent to reporters, said he returned the Mitsubishi Pajero (SEP 825) issued by the National Power Corporation for his use as then staff of Arroyo, who at the time chaired the committee on energy at the House of Repreentatives.
“I returned the vehicle to Napocor after I ceased serving Congressman Arroyo in an official and professional capacity at the end of 2009. I have not possessed or used or driven the Pajero since then,” he said.
“As far as I recall, I ordered my driver to return the Pajero and was given a check-list by Napocor as proof of delivery of the Pajero,” Almeda added.
He further denied knowing 33-year-old Brian Hills whom authorities believed to have used the government-issued Pajero in delivering illegal drugs to his clients.
“I have never met him. I never delivered the Pajero to him. I have never been to his residence. I have no idea how he came to possess the Pajero or how the Pajero wound up in his garage,” insisted Almeda.
Arroyo, son of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has chosen to remain mum on the issue.
Earlier, the NPC said they sent letters for the last two years to Arroyo’s office at the House, asking that the Pajero issued to Almeda be returned but received no reply.