FG submitted bogus evidence of perjury

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc () - August 15, 2011 - 12:00am

You don’t cross mighty Mike Arroyo and get away with it. At the airport Monday upon return to Manila from abroad the ex-first gentleman at once growled at those who were linking him to the police helicopter scam. Singling out businessman Archibald Po, Mike ordered his attorneys to bring on charges. How dare Po testify at the Senate that he directed the sale of two of his used choppers to a trader who passed these off to the National Police as brand new! Po must be punished.

In just two days Mike’s lawyers compiled documentary evidence three inches thick. Off they went to the Pasay City court to sue Po for false testimony, perjury in solemn affirmation, and offering false testimony in evidence. Hah, if Po gets off the hook on one charge, he would have to face two more. Mike demanded that Po pay P20 million for damaging his reputation. For, Po allegedly lied in stating that:

(1) Mike owns five helicopters;

(2) Mike instructed him to purchase the aircraft in late 2003;

(3) Mike remitted $475,000 in required deposit for the purchase;

(4) Mike imported the units via Po’s Asian Spirit to evade taxes;

(5) Mike made Po sign for the aircraft in the name of Asian Spirit;

(6) Mike required the execution of five blank deeds of sale;

(7) Mike as owner directed the choppers’ use and operation;

(8) Mike was billed for the aircraft repair and maintenance;

(9) Mike told Po he was selling the used units for $350,000 each;

(10) Mike authorized Po to offer the choppers to Maptra;

(11) Mike partook in the transaction between Po and Maptra; and

(12) Mike received the proceeds of the sale from Po.

Purportedly Po had no shred of evidence of his claims. Whereas Mike has a damning document that could nail Po. Mike affixed to his charge sheet an “Aircraft Fleet Service Agreement” between his LTA Inc. and Po’s LionAir.

The document shows that LionAir leased five helicopters to LTA Inc. from March 16 to May 15, 2004, for P9,823,290. The date corresponds with Gloria Arroyo’s presidential campaign. The aircraft bore registries RP-C 2779, RP-C 2780, RP-C 2781, RP-C 2782 and RP-C 2783 — the very same ones that Po swore to be secretly owned by Mike. The contract was signed by Renato M. Sia as Lion Air corporate secretary, and Ignacio T. Arroyo as LTA Inc. president. It was acknowledged on March 16, 2004, in Makati, as Document 156, Page 37, Book 51, Series of 2004, by Notary Public Lope M. Velasco. With this evidence, Po is doomed.

Alas, the best laid schemes of Mike and men can go awry. Looking closely at the notary sheet, Sia’s residence certificate is dated April 2, 2004. (Ignacio had no listed ID.) It appears that the lease was notarized in March 2004 two weeks before Sia got his cedula in April. Meaning, the lease is bogus. (Sia says he was moonlighting at the time as LionAir flight operations assistant. He became full-time general manager, but never corporate secretary, only in August 2005.)

From their two hearings on the chopper scam, the senators have noticed a conspiracy to cover-up. Could this sham evidence be part of it? If so, this is one more reason to subpoena Mike to appear at the Senate. There he can perhaps unfurl his other planned defense — that he had transferred all his LTA Inc. shares to Ignacio as far back as 2001.

* * *

For the Philippine Olympic Committee to belittle the Dragon Boat Team as too old to compete already was politically incorrect. But baselessly to accuse the athletes of taking steroids was downright criminal. The paddlers not only brought glory to the nation by winning five gold and two silver medals in the world championships in Florida. They also taught adulating rival teams from richer lands the value of teamwork and perseverance.

The team did it despite no moral or material support from the POC and the Philippine Sports Commission. Members had to spend their own money for plane fare, bring canned foods to save on meals, and borrow paddles from opponents. When the public reacted by cheering the team on and twitting the sports officials, the latter should have taken the cue. Filipinos want more sports heroes than just Manny Pacquiao or Efren “Bata” or the Azkals; the officials must produce, not scoff at, newcomers.

But no, the sports officials had to display their crab mentality of pulling others down to get to the top of the dung heap. They badmouthed the team, when they could have ridden instead on its instant popularity. Words of encouragement were in order, not slurs.

Sure, the POC had a basic reason to not endorse the team. Dragon Boat is not an official Olympic sport; the mother International Olympic Committee wants to classify it under a different water event. So without IOC consent, the POC could not sanction the Florida finals, and the PSC, reliant on POC endorsements, could not fund it.

But then, Billiards and Wushu too are not official IOC events. Yet local sports officials support these in world or Asian tournaments. What makes Dragon Boat less appealing? It’s not as if, when they hail Dragon Boat, other groups will push as well for POC-PSC recognition and funding of, say, checkers or darts.

* * *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ, (882-AM).

My new e-mail: jariusbondoc@gmail.com

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