Former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo used 2 choppers 16 times, son Mikey 69
Members of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s immediate family extensively used the two helicopters that were falsely sold to the Philippine National Police as brand new in 2009, according to flight records obtained by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Based on the flight logs of the two Robinson R44 Raven 1 helicopters, it appeared that Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, and their elder son, Ang Galing Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, virtually controlled the use of the helicopters, based on their frequent trips, DILG officials told the Inquirer on Tuesday.
Aside from the former first family, their friends from politics, business, as well as show business, used the helicopters.
Based on the flight records, Mikey flew by himself or sometimes with his wife Angela Montenegro-Arroyo and other companions on the chopper with ID No. RP-4250 a total of 40 times from Oct. 5, 2007, to July 29, 2009.
The companions were often not identified
Mikey flew 29 times on the other chopper, with ID No. RP-4375, from Jan. 9, 2008, to Aug. 23, 2009, according to the records released to the Inquirer by DILG officials.
Mikey was then representative for Pampanga’s third district, where his mother ran and won a congressional seat in last year’s elections after her nine-year presidential term ended.
He and his wife alternately used the two choppers to ferry them from Lubao in Pampanga province, to A3 Station on the Presidential Security Group grounds in Malacañang, to a certain Burgundy station in Calatagan and to Lipa City in Batangas province, among others, the records indicated.
Mike Arroyo, the former first gentleman, flew a total of eight times on both choppers, according to the records.
The son of the former President, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo, and her daughter, Luli, each flew once, the records showed.
There were several times when the flight records showed an “unspecified passenger.”
The DILG obtained the flight records in the course of its investigation into the allegedly anomalous purchase of the two secondhand helicopters for almost P105 million.
They were sold as brand new for the PNP’s Special Action Force, but the PNP had not used them since they were delivered in 2010 due to their questionable condition, according to the officials.
The chopper with ID No. RP-4357 recorded a flying time of 536.3 hours from January 2008 to August 2009.
Chopper RP-4250 recorded a flying time of 498.9 hours from Oct. 5, 2007 to July 29, 2009.
“When we saw the flight logs, they showed the passengers. A frequent passenger was Congressman Mikey Arroyo and several members of the family. That’s why the information came out that they are secondhand. This is the proof,” Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said at a news briefing.
The other passengers of the two choppers were listed in the records as Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, former Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay, then Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronaldo Singson, then Northern Samar Rep. Wilmar Lucero and Romblon Rep. Eleandro Madrona.
The others were Sen. Francisco Pangilinan and party, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri and party, then Gov. Vic Magsasay of Zambales province, Ambassador to New Guinea Bienvenido Tejano and party, James Gaisano of the Gaisano Malls, “celebrities” from GMA 7, and former Laguna Lake Development Authority general manager Ed Manda, the records indicated.
The other passengers listed in the records were then international airport general manager Alfonso Cusi, movie actress Kristine Hermosa and a certain Rey Nadal and Bingbong of ABS-CBN, among others.
Owner allegedly hiding
“It is clear to the PNP that this is an irregular transaction. Until now they are looking for proof of ownership of the seller,” Robredo said, adding his office was still investigating who were the real owners of the helicopters.
According to the DILG, the two choppers were owned by Asian Spirit Inc. in 2004, and leased later to Lionair Corp. but then sold by Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp. (Maptra) to the PNP as “brand new” in July 2009.
The two choppers were delivered, after inspection by a PNP panel, on Feb. 12, 2010.
Maptra, reportedly owned by one Hilarion “Larry” B. de Vera, used to be a single proprietorship but was incorporated under the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 15, 2009.
The firm bagged the negotiated deal on July 9, 2009—or a month after it was incorporated—without submitting documents on how it was able to acquire ownership of the two choppers in question.
DILG officials claimed De Vera had gone into hiding.
27 people liable
Robredo said the PNP had finished its fact-finding probe and found 27 officials liable for legal action since they were members of the bids and awards committee (BAC) and the acceptance and inspection units.
“They are assessing the cases that will be filed. It’s clear in the helicopter. You bought at a price for brand new but they’re second hand … The accountability goes with the BAC,” Robredo said.
Robredo said then PNP Director General Jesus Versoza was not yet off the hook.
“I think not because at the end there’s the one who signed the voucher, the head of the office,” Robredo said, acknowledging at the same time that Versoza had claimed presumption of regularity for his defense. With Inquirer Research
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