Press Release
August 11, 2011

Sen. Guingona calls on Mike Arroyo to
attend Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings

SENATE Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Sen. TG Guingona on Thursday challenged former First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo to face his detractors at the Senate who have accused him of being the real owner of two second-hand helicopters which were sold to the Philippine National Police (PNP) as brand new in 2009.

"Dito mo sa Senado ipaliwanag ang mga sinasabi mong mga kasinungalingan laban sa iyo. At ikaw ay bibigyan ng patas na oras at patas na trato," he said.

"At nanawagan din ako na huwag tayong magtago sa likod ng medical certificate para iwasan ang pagdalo sa Senado," he added.

Mr. Arroyo sent word through his lawyer that he would not be able to attend the hearing upon the advise of his doctors and that he needed to attend to his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who just had a major operation on Wednesday.

The Blue Ribbon Committee had requested the Philippine Heart Center to check the veracity of the medical condition of Mr. Arroyo.

During the hearing, Lionair President Archibald Po revealed a wire transfer certificate amounting to $500,000 sent to US-based Robinson Helicopter Co. from LTA Inc. which served as downpayment to the five helicopters purchased through Lionair in 2004. Upon check at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Arroyo was listed as the Chairman and President as well as the majority stockholder of LTA Inc.

Lionair employee Edith Solano-Juguan also testified that she had been going to the LTA office monthly since the helicopters were purchased in 2004 up to May 2011 to collect from LTA employee Rowena del Rosario the monthly operating costs of the helicopters, such as fuel expenses, take-off and landing fees, and pilotage charges.

Two former pilots of the helicopters, Capt. Dennis Silvestre and Capt. Margarito Labastilla, also said during the hearing that they had been flying the Robinson Raven 1 helicopters and that they have flown Mr. Arroyo and members of his family a number of times on these helicopters.

The flight dispatcher of the helicopters, Domingo Lazo, testified that he only receives instructions from Mr. Arroyo for the flight plan of the helicopters which include the date, time, pilot, and passengers of the flight.

"So he (Mr. Arroyo) has complete control over these helicopters," asked Sen. Guingona. To which, Mr. Lazo replied: "Yes."

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