Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What a joke, the Philippine Government!

The Department of the Interior and Local Government is expected to investigate Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s claim that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, sold three used helicopters as brand-new to the Philippine National Police, President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesperson said on Wednesday.
In a Senate resolution, Lacson and Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the blue ribbon committee, said the two R44 Raven I choppers were discovered to be “preowned,” with flight logs recorded as far back as March 2004. They called for an inquiry into the matter.
The PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., said the investigation could reach the level of the then PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa, under whose leadership the supply contract was signed.
But while Mike Arroyo admitted that his family had owned a chopper, he said it was sold to private buyers.
“Neither I nor the former President sold a helicopter to the PNP,” he said in a text message. “LTA Inc., which we own, had a Bolkow helicopter [that] was sold not to the PNP but to another private company.”
“The public should be wary of statements coming from a former fugitive from justice,” he added, referring to Lacson’s yearlong stint on the lam in connection with his indictment for the Dacer-Corbito murders.
Mike Arroyo said this fresh attack on his family was “nothing but another sordid exercise to further malign our name and part of the continuing persecution to mask the lackadaisical performance of this administration to the detriment of the Filipino people.”
Edwin Lacierda said Lacson was likewise expected to disclose his evidence on the purportedly questionable helicopter purchases and on the “Jose Pidal” account that the senator exposed during his first term.
Speaking at a news briefing, Lacierda also said he had yet to discuss the matter with Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
“But knowing Secretary Robredo, I’m confident that he had issued orders to look into these allegations of Senator Lacson,” Lacierda said.
Lacson has asked the Senate blue ribbon committee to look into the helicopter purchases worth about P105 million.
Lacierda said that being “a crusader for good governance,” Lacson would “require no prodding” to present his evidence.
The senator had claimed that he had new evidence showing that Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo, younger brother of Mike Arroyo, was not the actual owner of the Jose Pidal bank accounts.
The accounts were said to have been opened by Arroyo’s husband for money laundering.
Appearing to bear out Mike Arroyo’s disclaimer, the PNP has demanded that aviation supplier Manila Aerospace Products Trading (Maptra) replace two of three helicopters it sold to the elite Special Action Force in 2009.
Chief Supt. Felipe L. Roxas Jr., head of the PNP Directorate for Logistics, said the letter was sent to Maptra “for them to immediately replace the delivered helicopters with new ones, as called for.”
In May 2009, the PNP negotiated with Maptra for the purchase of three equipped light police operational helicopters (LPOHs), later modified to one equipped and two standard LPOHs. The contract was approved two months later.

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