Joker Arroyo kin tied to VP Binay in graft probe
MANILA, Philippines–A nephew of former Sen. Joker Arroyo is the latest to be dragged into the ever widening Senate subcommittee investigation of the alleged financial impropriety and corruption of Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family.
Dr. Jack Arroyo, an ophthalmologist, was accused Tuesday of being a dummy for Binay after it was revealed that Arroyo owned a 20-percent share in a joint venture between the University of Makati (UMak) and Systems Technology Institute (STI) to operate a nursing school in the city university.
Lawyer Renato Bondal made the allegations against Arroyo at the resumption of the hearings of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee looking into allegations of official corruption against Binay when he was mayor of Makati City.
Arroyo, with Binay, was among the incorporators of the Philippine Health Educators Inc., (PHEI) which was established on Dec. 17, 2003, by UMak and STI as the “corporate vehicle to manage the College of Nursing” of UMak, according to Bondal.
The other incorporators of PHEI are Tomas Lopez, Eusebio Tangco, Monico Jacob, Yolanda Bautista, Ernesto Santos and Alfredo Alex Cruz, he said.
Bondal said the stockholders earned cash dividends totaling P106 million from 2004 to 2014 based on records from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“The students’ performance is not improving but their earnings every year continue,” he said, adding that in last year’s nursing board examinations UMak ranked 92 among the schools with board passers. UMak had a passing rate of 67.21 percent last year, he said.
The Binay camp immediately dismissed as a “dud” the latest allegations against the Vice President. It said neither Binay nor any other Makati official got any dividends or shares of profits from the joint venture at any time.
“The Vice President merely represented the City of Makati in the joint venture project as evidenced by the City Council resolutions and ordinances. He never held any business interests therein in his own capacity,” said Binay’s political spokesman, Rico Quicho.
In his Twitter account, Quicho posted on Tuesday a letter purportedly showing that Binay had resigned as the chair and director of PHEI in 2010.
“Now that I am no longer the mayor of Makati City, I have the honor to convey my resignation as chairman and director of PHEI. I believe this would allow the Makati City Council to nominate its new representative at the PHEI board,” Binay said in the letter dated July 5, 2010.
At the hearing, Bondal said Binay did not divest his interest in the joint venture because based on the 2014 general information sheet, he remains listed there along with Lopez and Tangco.
“Did the Vice President indicate in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth that he has a stake in the company?” Bondal asked.
Bondal said UMak and STI have 4,999.997 shares each of PHEI and Arroyo, 2,500 shares.
“Who is Jack Arroyo? He is an ophthalmologist and has no connection with any nursing school,” yet still got 20 percent shares in the company.
Bondal said Arroyo is the nephew of the former senator who has defended Binay’s son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., in the Senate subcommittee hearings.
“That is a question that only has one answer. Why was he (Arroyo) included in the PHEI when he has nothing to do with UMak, STI, Makati or any nursing school? The answer Mr. Jack Arroyo is a nominee/dummy of Vice President Binay in PHEI. That is the logical answer why Mr. Jack Arroyo has 20 percent,” Bondal said.
Arroyo is not part of UMak or STI, “but out of nowhere he becomes a 20-percent stockholder of that company. What is the logic?” he said.
No public bidding
Bondal questioned the joint-venture agreement between UMak and STI, saying that STI’s “competence was on IT and not nursing and medical services.” Likewise, he said no public bidding was conducted for the joint venture.
Bondal also said UMak is the only public university that has a joint venture agreement with a private company. He said other public universities like the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila are run by the local government.
The discussion about the latest allegations against Binay was deferred for the next hearing on May 11, with Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III telling Bondal to “substantiate your allegations.”
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