Sandiganbayan heeds SC, drops graft raps vs ex-FG Mike Arroyo on helicopter issue
MANILA, Philippines — Graft charges against former first gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo regarding the anomalous purchase of second-hand helicopters in 2009 have been dropped by Sandiganbayan in adherence to the Supreme Court (SC) order last December 2021.
In a September 21 resolution, the Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division resolved Arroyo’s motion to dismiss sent to the court last August 12.
The said division explained that while Arroyo’s camp attached a true certified copy to their motion to dismiss, they can only note of the submission as they would await the copy from SC.
The SC order, meanwhile, was received by the Sandiganbayan on September 19 and was recognized in open court.
“Wherefore, in compliance with the Resolution dated December 1, 2021, of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 210488, the name Jose Miguel T. Arroyo is ordered DROPPED from the Information under Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0I64,” Sandiganbayan said in the resolution.
“The charge filed against him in Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0164 for Violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. 3019 is necessarily ordered DISMISSED,” it added.
READ: SC orders Sandiganbayan to ‘drop’ Mike Arroyo from chopper deal case
With the dropping of charges, the court also ordered the cash bond posted by Arroyo to be released.
Arroyo, husband of former president and now Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was one of the individuals accused of conspiring with government officials in purchasing two second-hand choppers and one brand new chopper, despite warnings from the National Police Commission to only buy brand new choppers.
He then claimed that he had provided documents showing who the true owners of the choppers were, claiming that the Office of the Ombudsman — which filed the case before the Sandiganbayan — could not distinguish him from the Lourdes T. Arroyo Inc. (LTA Inc.).
LTA Inc. had a hand in financing the helicopters.
According to Arroyo, he had already divested his interests in the LTA when the helicopters were purchased, saying that he only rejoined in 2010 — the same year Arroyo stepped down from office.
SC reasoned out that the Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corporation witness admitted that he knows Arroyo personally, thus weakening the elements of conspiracy needed to prove a graft case.
READ: SC overrules AMLC in chopper deal case involving Mike Arroyo
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