FORMER first gentleman Jose “Mike” Miguel Arroyo asked the Sandiganbayan to revisit the P34-million chopper case as evidence is apparently lacking to prove that he was a participant in the purchase of the controversial helicopters.
In a 30-page motion, the husband of Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga province told the anti-graft court that it was the Lourdes T. Arroyo, Inc. (LTA) that transacted on behalf of the Robinson helicopters, not him.
He said that Archibald Po, who named Arroyo in the purported spurious deal, clarified during the hearing before the investigating panel that “it was LTA and not accused-movant, which made the initial deposit” of $500,000 to Robinson Helicopter Company (RHC).
Basing his argument from his late brother and LTA president Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, the older Arroyo said that only a lease contract was entered between Po and LTA and that their intention was only to “apply the rentals for LTA’s use of the helicopters.”
Renato Sia, general manager of Lionair, testified before the Senate the he was asked to open an account in Unionbank upon verbal instruction from LTA.
Also, Edith Solano-Juguan, collecting officer of Po, said that the reimbursement of expenses was received from LTA.
Assisted by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, Arroyo argued that it is an elementary principle that persons and corporations and its stockholders are different juridical entities.
“The Investigating Panel, without any basis, substituted [my]name to that of LTA just so as to create a semblance of [my]participation in the alleged unlawful transaction,” Arroyo’s motion read.
Arroyo added that during the time of the transaction, he already stripped off any interest from his family’s company as shown in the deed of assignment of shares of stock dated March 15, 2001 in favor of Benito Araneta.
The alleged shady transaction happened between 2006 when Asian Spirit purportedly sold the helicopters to Po-owned Lionair. Lionair eventually sold them to Maptra. In 2009, Maptra sold them to the Philippine National Police PNP.
He said that he was neither a director nor an officer nor a stockholder of LTA between 2004 and 2009 and it was only in November 2010, “long after the transaction,” when he purchased LTA shares from Araneta.
Maptra and Po could also not have sold the choppers to PNP worth P62.67 million if he owned the aircrafts, Arroyo said.
He added that the claims of Po and Sia that Arroyo was paid $700,000 for the helicopters “would necessarily exonerate” him from any allegations of overpricing “as it would appear that Lionair and Maptra paid P31.5 million” for the two choppers which they sold for P62.67 million to PNP.
“Simple math will show that only Lionair and Maptra benefited from the alleged overprice of P34.63 million,” Arroyo said.
He moved the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to revisit the case and to dismiss it relative to his participation for lack of probable cause.