Sandiganbayan OKs Mike Arroyo’s travel abroad amid graft rap
The Sandiganbayan has again allowed former First Gentleman Juan Miguel “Mike” Arroyo to travel abroad even as he faces a graft charge over a 2009 chopper mess.
In a resolution, the anti-graft court Fifth Division allowed Arroyo to travel to Japan and Hong Kong from Jan. 30 to Feb. 8.
Arroyo earlier told the court of his plans to travel abroad. He said he would be staying at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5 and at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile in Kowloon, Hong Kong from Feb. 5 to Feb. 8.
The court imposed the usual requirements of a travel bond and a strict itinerary.
Arroyo, the husband of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is accused of owning two secondhand helicopters sold to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and passed off as brand new in 2009 even if these failed to comply with the specifications set by the police.
Arroyo denied owning two Robinsons R44 Raven I helicopters supposedly used by his wife in the 2004 presidential elections.
Archibald Po, owner of Lionair Inc. which is the exclusive distributor of Robinsons helicopters, has testified before the Sandiganbayan that Arroyo owns the said secondhand helicopters.
Po told the court he sold to Arroyo five Robinsons helicopters, two of which the former first gentleman allegedly sold to the police as brand new in 2009.
He earlier testified in a Senate inquiry that he delivered $700,000 in cash to Arroyo following the sale of the aircraft.
The PNP bought the two used choppers from accredited supplier, Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp. (Maptra), Lionair’s marketing agent in the bidding with the PNP.
The Ombudsman accused Arroyo and several other police officials of conspiring with one another to forego a public bidding in the favor of a supplier to the disadvantage of the government.
The Ombudsman said the government lost P34.632 million in the said overpriced transaction.
Arroyo is a co-accused in the graft case of former police chief Jesus Versoza. RAM
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