Witness says IBP head got P.5M from Mike Arroyo in 2001 | Inquirer News
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Witness says IBP head got P.5M from Mike Arroyo in 2001

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 01:05 AM January 26, 2012

Former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Why did Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president Roan Libarios receive P500,000 from the husband of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in May 2001?

A former employee of LTA Inc., which is owned by the family of Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, has surfaced with a story of a decade-old incident wherein he said he was given P500,000 by Arroyo’s comptroller, Ma. Victoria “Vicky” Toh, for deposit to Libarios’ bank account.

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In an affidavit executed last January 17, the whistle-blower said that on May 7, 2001, he accompanied Toh to the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) branch in Makati City, where she handed him a filled up deposit slip to be given to the bank teller. He said the deposit slip indicated that the P500,000 cash he was carrying was to be deposited to Libarios’ account.

“I was left at UCPB because Ms. Vicky Toh was in a hurry to leave to go to other banks, so the duplicate of the deposit slip was left with me,” the whistle-blower said.

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A scanned copy of the teller-validated duplicate slip showed that only P499,900—in P1,000 bills—was deposited in Libarios’ account because the bank collected a P100 deposit charge.

For DOJ evaluation

The whistle-blower’s affidavit is now in the hands of the Department of Justice, a senior official has confirmed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The official, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on a case that is still subject to a final decision by the office of the justice secretary, said the document was being evaluated for possible use in the investigation of questionable transactions involving Mike Arroyo.

He asked that the identity of the whistle-blower be withheld for the meantime for security reasons, and said he had heard that the latter intended to apply for admission to the government’s witness protection program.

Reached by phone for comment, Libarios denied knowing Toh or having dealt with her or Mike Arroyo.

He also said that he could not remember if he had any bank account with UCPB, and that he only had a current account with Metrobank.

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In a statement he sent later Wednesday, Libarios said:

“I do not know Vicky Toh. I had no dealings with the [former] First Gentleman—nothing at all. I am not also his friend. I am not aware of any deposit of that amount. May 7, 2001, was the last week [before] the May 14 elections, where I [ran] for Congress. Even assuming that the account was mine because I cannot recall anymore, any deposit may have been from the ruling coalition leaders during that election time.”

Toh was the controller of LTA Inc., which, according to the whistle-blower, employed him after he lost his job at the Arroyo, Barin, Villanueva and Associates law firm that closed shop after then Vice President Arroyo assumed the presidency in January 2001.

In Mike Arroyo’s payroll

He said that in coming forward, he only wanted to help President Benigno Aquino III bring justice and order to the country. “I do not ask for anything in return; nobody promised me anything or instructed me to make this narration,” he said.

The whistle-blower’s handlers, who gave the Inquirer a copy of the affidavit and the deposit slip, said the single transaction proved that Libarios was in Mike Arroyo’s payroll.

The handlers said the deposit slip would also explain Libarios’ unequivocal support for impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was appointed to the post by then outgoing President Arroyo.

One of the articles of impeachment against Corona pertains to his “partiality and subservience in cases involving the Arroyo administration from the time of his appointment as Supreme Court associate justice up to his appointment as Chief Justice.

‘In Charter’s defense’

The IBP under Libarios earlier denounced the 188 congressmen who signed the impeachment complaint againt Corona.

“We’re here not in defense of the Chief Justice. We’re here in defense of the Constitution,” Libarios said.

A number of IBP local officials and members have protested the stand made by the IBP leadership, claiming that Libarios and the organization’s governors had no business making political statements and taking Corona’s side.

Libarios, a former representative of Agusan del Norte, served as a member of the prosecution panel during the impeachment trial of then President Joseph Estrada, who was eventually ousted and replaced by Gloria Arroyo.

During Arroyo’s term, Libarios was appointed a member of the government’s peace panel that negotiated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He was elected IBP president in December 2010.

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TAGS: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Mike Arroyo, Roan Libarios
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