2 new witnesses expected to testify Mike Arroyo owns choppers
Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo may be in fighting form, but there is no dearth of witnesses against him in connection with the sale of what turned out to be used—but priced as brand-new—helicopters to the Philippine National Police.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said he was expecting two new witnesses to testify against Arroyo during the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon investigation of the transaction at 9 a.m. Thursday.
But Lacson admitted that his new smoking gun against Arroyo could not point to the husband of the former President as the one who had ordered the sale of the choppers to the PNP two years ago.
“That I’m not sure of,” he told reporters.
“But what will be clearly established is the issue of ownership. The issue on who ordered the (purchase by the) PNP, I don’t think they are in a position (to say so), unless they say something to that effect.”
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the blue ribbon committee, told reporters that the next hearing would be “very exciting.” He declined to elaborate on the identity of the new witnesses.
As soon as he was back in Manila from a medical checkup in Hong Kong on Monday, Arroyo attacked his accusers and denied that he owned the choppers sold to the PNP.
Arroyo described as “fabricated” the testimony given to the Senate by businessman Archibald Po that he was the original owner of two second-hand choppers.
“Let me put it on record that I do not own those subject helicopters sold to the Philippine National Police,” he had said in a statement.
Lacson said his new witnesses would “reinforce” the testimony of Po. The witnesses were in possession of documents containing supposedly “damning evidence” against Arroyo, the senator said.
Told about Arroyo’s combative demeanor upon his return, the senator said: “Yes, he is in a fighting mood. He said ‘I’m back.’ But he didn’t say that he would face the inquiry here.”
Lacson maintained that Arroyo would have to appear at the hearing, and not just send a lawyer, to personally respond to allegations against him. As per Senate rules, he said a subpoena would be issued against Arroyo if he failed to attend Thursday.
“If he doesn’t appear on Thursday, for sure, someone would move that he be subpoenaed for the next hearing. And if he still fails to show up, someone would certainly move to have him arrested,” the senator said.
Lacson added: “That’s when we will find out if his condition is really life-threatening and that’s why he can’t appear.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.