Only Mike Arroyo, son gave flight schedules, chopper pilots say
MANILA, Philippines – More witnesses came out in the Senate on Thursday to further implicate former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo in the anomalous purchase of second-hand helicopters by the Philippine National Police.
Domingo Lazo, former flight dispatcher of Lionair Incorporated, told the blue ribbon committee that he only received instructions about flight schedules, destinations and name of passengers from Arroyo and the security of his son, Congressman Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo.
It was Lionair, through its president Archibald Po, which allegedly facilitated the purchase of five helicopters for Arroyo, two of which were sold to the PNP as brand new in 2009.
“Kay First Gentleman po. Minsan galing po sa security ni Mikey [From the first gentleman. Sometimes, the instruction comes from the security of Mikey],” Lazo said when asked by Senator Panfilo Lacson who was giving him instructions when he was with the Lionair. Lazo worked for Lionair from 2004 to 2009.
“Never kang nakatanggap ng instruction para maglipad mula sa ibang tao maliban mula kay former First Gentleman at mga security ni Mikey [You never got instructions to fly from other people except from the former first gentleman and Mikey’s security]?” asked Lacson.
“Lahat po ng instruction ng lipad, galing sa kanya [All instructions came from him],” said Lazo, referring to Arroyo.
But when asked who he thought owned the helicopters he was flying then, Lazo said, “Ang pagkakasabi po sa akin ni Mr Po, si FG po ang may-ari [From what Mr. Po told me, it was FG who owned them].”
Two former Lionair pilots – Captain Margarito Labastilla and Captain Dennis Silvestre – also testified before the blue ribbon committee and recalled flying Arroyo only twice but could not point to the First Gentleman as the owner of the any helicopter they were using then.
All they knew, the witnesses said, was that the helicopters belonged to the Lionair.
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