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What Went Before: Ignacio Arroyo a.k.a. ‘Jose Pidal’

/ 06:00 AM January 27, 2012

Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo Jr.

In September 2003, Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo came to the rescue of his elder brother, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, when he claimed ownership of the “Jose Pidal” bank accounts that were allegedly used to launder contributions to then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidential campaign.

It was the first big scandal to hit the Arroyo administration. Senator Panfilo Lacson accused the then President’s husband of amassing more than P200 million from campaign contributions and putting the money in secret bank accounts, some under the name of “Jose Pidal.”

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But in the subsequent Senate investigation, Iggy Arroyo invoked his right to privacy and refused to divulge details of his alleged accounts.

It was not the only time that Iggy Arroyo was involved in scandals concerning Mike and Gloria Arroyo. In 1997, Gloria Arroyo, then a senator, was investigated for alleged nondisclosure of $4.6 million worth of properties in San Francisco, California. Mike Arroyo said it was his younger brother who was the actual owner of the properties.

The Negros Occidental representative also figured in the controversy surrounding the sale to the Philippine National Police of used helicopters allegedly owned by the Arroyos.

The sale of the three helicopters to the PNP was negotiated in May 2009 with Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp. (Maptra). The purchase order worth P105 million was approved in September 2009.

In July 2011, Lacson alleged that two of the helicopters were not brand-new, as was supposedly made to appear in the purchase agreement, and claimed that they were previously owned by the former first couple.

In August, Maptra president Hilario de Vera told the Senate that Archibald Po, owner of Lionair Inc., the distributor of the helicopters in the country, had pressured him into selling the two used choppers to the PNP, allegedly on Mike Arroyo’s behest.

To the rescue again

Mike Arroyo denied ownership of the choppers. In the same month, Iggy Arroyo presented a document showing that LTA Inc., the family-owned company of the Arroyos, merely leased five helicopters from Lionair for two months in 2004. He said the choppers belonged to Po.

Iggy also said that he was the president of LTA Inc. when the lease agreement was signed with Lionair, and that his elder brother “was not part of our company during those material dates.”

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Last year, reports said Iggy Arroyo left for London to seek treatment for an unspecified liver condition.

Born on Oct. 24, 1950, he was married to but later separated from Alicia Rita Morales-Arroyo. Inquirer Research

Sources: Inquirer Archives

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