Mike Arroyo asks court anew for travel permitBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo has once again asked the Sandiganbayan to allow him to travel abroad, this time to Japan and Hong Kong, to accompany his grandchildren on their semestral vacation.
Arroyo stands accused in the antigraft court’s Second Division of alleged involvement in the anomalous sale of two used helicopters to the police force during the presidency of his wife, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is herself charged with graft involving other cases.
In his motion, Arroyo said he wanted to travel to Japan and Hong Kong from Oct. 23 to 30 during his grandchildren’s semestral break as this would be an opportunity to bond with them.
Arroyo’s lawyer, Ferdie Topacio, said he was not a flight risk and that he always returned to the country on the previous occasions that the court permitted him to travel abroad.
Arroyo’s family and business interests are here, Topacio said, adding that the former first gentleman had no reason not to return.
His client also promised to submit himself to the court’s jurisdiction and to submit to other conditions that the court might impose as additional guarantees for his return, Topacio said.
Aside from the helicopter deal where the choppers were passed off as brand-new, Arroyo also faces graft charges in the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division for his alleged involvement in the $329-million dollar NBN-ZTE broadband deal.
His coaccused in the scrapped broadband deal are his wife, former Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos and former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.