Press Release
August 18, 2011


The lease agreement presented by Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo to counter allegations that his brother former First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo did not own two used choppers which were sold to the Philippine National Police (PNP) as brand new appears to be spurious, Senator Franklin Drilon said Thursday.

Drilon, a member of the Blue Ribbon committee that is investigating the chopper fiasco, joined other Senate probers in rejecting Iggy Arroyo's claim that the second-hand helicopters had been leased to the Arroyo family-owned LTA Inc.

"It is on my view that the lease agreement entered into by Iggy Arroyo and Lionair is a contrived lease agreement. It was invented to cover-up and the lease agreement was not really intended to govern the relationship between the lessor, Lionair, and the lessee, allegedly LTA Inc.," Drilon told a news conference.

Drilon said that under the terms of the lease agreement, the minimum payment for the use of helicopters for two months is P9.8 million, whether LTA, as a lessee, will use the helicopters or not.

"I challenge Iggy Arroyo to produce the cheque to show payment of P9.8 million to Lionair or any piece of evidence that would show that he paid Lionair P9.8 million. There was no payment, which means that this lease agreement was never effective and was only resorted to to shore up the allegation, futile as it is, that Lionair is the owner," said Drilon.

According to Drilon, the signature of Lionair corporate secretary Renato Sia is "doubtful" because "it appears only in the last page" and the other pages were not signed.

Drilon also noted an apparent inconsistency in the lease agreement supposedly signed between LTA and Lionair, wherein it was indicated that the residence certificate of Sia is dated April 2, 2004, but the notarized agreement was dated March 16, 2004.

The flight log indicated that the choppers took off and landed in Malacanang, said Drilon.

The senator earlier questioned the PNP Uniform and Equipment Standardization Board and the National Police Commission then headed by former Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno as to the reason why alterations to the specifications have to be made to make it appear that the PNP needed Mike Arroyo's Raven 1 choppers for the operation of the elite Special Action Force.

Further evidence, as testified by Lionair collections agent Edith Solano-Juguan that she was collecting "maintenenace fees" that Lionair charged to LTA Inc. which is owned by Mike Arroyo's family, would cement the fact that Arroyo owned the choppers. Solano-Juguan said that she would go to LTA Bldg. in Makati City to collect the monthly maintenance fees.

Domingo Lazo, former Lionair flight dispatcher, earlier told senators that from March 2004 until he resigned from the company in June 2009, Mike Arroyo would instruct him as to when any member of the First family, including him, would use the choppers.

"All of these would really show beyond reasonable doubt that it is Mike Arroyo who is the owner. Unfortunately, in their desperation to invent the evidence and to rebut this very strong circumstantial evidence that the helicopters were purchased by Mike Arroyo, they come up with a spurious, contrived lease agreement which will not fly," Drilon added.

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