September 3, 2011
MANILA, Philippines – Instead of crying harassment, former first gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo should prepare well for his defense on the plunder complaint filed by the police against him for the anomalous Philippine National Police’s (PNP) helicopter deal in 2009, a senator said today.
“Mr. Arroyo et all should prepare well for his defense,” Sen. Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.
Pangilinan believes that evidence presented during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearings are strong and prove that Mr. Arroyo was the owner of the two used helicopters that the PNP bought.
The PNP was supposed to buy three brand new helicopters. During the Senate’s hearings, it was revealed that two of the three helicopters were pre-owned.
“The evidence unearthed in the Senate hearings are damning. Both testimonial and documentary evidence lead to the doorsteps of Mike Arroyo as the true owner of the choppers,” Pangilinan said.
“We support the decision of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to file criminal charges against Mike Arroyo et al in connection with the sale of second hand choppers to the PNP,” he added.
Aside from Arroyo, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno and former PNP chief Jesus Verzosa were charged with plunder.
The senator said that the police’s filing of plunder charges against Arroyo and its former and active high-ranking officials should serve as a warning that in the present administration “no one is above te law, not even the husband of a former president.”
In an interview on state-run radio, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that Malacañang supports the PNP’s filing of charges against Arroyo.
Valte said that the filing of charges against Arroyo is “the start” of the administration’s campaign for accountability in government.
She also believes that evidence that cropped up during the Senate hearings prove that the helicopters’ purchase was anomalous and that several people should be held liable for it.
“Meron ho talagang dapat managot. Umaasa po kami na gugulong na ho ang hustisya,” Valte said.
Arroyo said that the filing of charges against him was a surprise since he was not even invited by the police for questioning.
“This is clearly a pattern of harassment and persecutory tactics to vilify the Arroyos even without evidence,” the former first gentleman said.
Also charged by the PNP were Archibald Po and Renato Sia of Lionair Inc. and Hilardio de Vera of the Manila Aerospace Products Trading.
Po and De Vera had submitted affidavits at the Senate identifying Arroyo as the owner of the two used helicopters. They also alleged that Arroyo forced the sale of the choppers to the PNP.
Other high-ranking officials involved in the helicopters deal were also charged at the Office of the Ombudsman.
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