Senate May File Separate Charges vs Ex-FG and Company over Chopper Mess

Another set of charges may loom over former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and company over the alleged P105-million “forced” purchase of used helicopters by the Philippine National Police, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Saturday. 

Lacson said the Philippine National Police’s filing of plunder charges with the Ombudsman over the chopper mess does not prevent the Senate from filing a different set of criminal complaints based on the evidence during the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings.

“We may likewise opt to include more individuals like Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo, Atty. Lope Velasco, and Rowena del Rosario at least for perjury and/or falsification of public and private documents,” said Lacson, whose expose triggered the Senate investigation into the mess.

“Lastly, we may also consider to amend the charges against Mike Arroyo et al if we see it fit to file the more appropriate criminal charges in order to ensure their conviction,” he added.

The Senate Blue Ribbon investigation had traced the ownership of the helicopters sold to the PNP to the Arroyo-owned LTA Inc. Also, the Senate investigation showed National Police Commission and PNP officials tweaked the specifications in the bidding to “tailor-fit” the Arroyos’ choppers.

The PNP on Friday lodged criminal complaints before the Ombudsman against the former First Gentleman and more than 20 others for the 2009 transaction.

Meanwhile, Lacson reminded the former First Gentleman it is now payback time for the abuses he engaged in during his wife’s nine-year rule.

“If Mike Arroyo still does not get it, nobody in this world stays in power forever. It is payback time for the Filipino people and all those cheated of their taxes in this country,” he said.

On the other hand, Lacson gave the former First Gentleman a “partial” consolation of sorts. “There’s one among his numerous accusations against me that I won’t argue albeit partially, if it is consolation enough for him: my motivation in running after him is 50 percent patriotism and 50 percent personal,” he said.