Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson disclosed Tuesday that he obtained documents indicating that the Arroyos were the former owners of the helicopters “forcibly” sold and priced as brand-new to the Philippine National Police for P105 million in 2009.
Lacson said the sale of the choppers may make the Arroyos – along with all those who took part in the sale – prime candidates for a plunder case as the amount involved exceeded P50 million.
“Initial findings would indicate that the previous and original owners of the pre-owned, yet sold as brand-new light police operational helicopters are the Arroyos. While it’s bad enough that the two units were overpriced and therefore grossly disadvantageous to the government, passing them off as brand-new smacks of brazen deceit and utmost bad faith,” he said.
Lacson had initiated an investigation into alleged misrepresentations in the P105-million purchase of light operational helicopters by the Philippine National Police’s elite Special Action Force (SAF).
He and Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Teofisto Guingona III filed Senate Resolution 518 to take a closer look at the acquisition of the Light Police Operational Helicopters (LPOHs) from Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp. (MAPTRA).
On July 9, 2009, the PNP Negotiation Committee recommended the award of the contract to MAPTRA for one Robinson R44 Raven II and two Robinson R44 Raven I helicopters.
But it was later learned that MAPTRA had been engaged in the business only in June 2009. Also, it was learned the supposedly new choppers were “pre-owned” as far back as March 2004.
On the other hand, Lacson said that while the PNP officials involved in the deal were complicit partners, they are the least to blame in this anomalous transaction.
“The First Couple were so powerful at that time that ramming the used helicopters down the throat of the police was easy and effortless. And since the proceeds could exceed the P50-million threshold in a series of acts, those liable are candidate for a plunder case under our existing laws,” he said.