'Arroyo chopper' used to transport bribe money: ex-judge

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2011 02:55 PM | Updated as of Sep 13 2011 11:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - One of the choppers previously owned by the former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo was used to fly a former Islamic court judge to different places in Mindanao to ensure the victory of his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in the 2004 elections.
 
Nagamura Moner, a former Shari’a court judge, revealed this on Tuesday during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s investigation on the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) purchase of choppers previously owned allegedly by the former First Gentleman.
 
Moner told senators he received a call from former Philippine Ports Authority General Manager Alfonso Cusi on May 13, 2004—or three days after the elections—asking him to go to certain places in Mindanao where Arroyo was losing against Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) in the municipal canvassing.
 
He said Cusi instructed him to find contacts in Cotabato City, Tawi-Tawi, and Sulu to change election results in favor of Mrs. Arroyo.
 
“The instruction was to find contacts with the election officers [and] pay them off if necessary just to make Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo win on those areas,” Moner said.
 
Moner refused at first, but was convinced by his wife whose brother worked for Cusi.
 
Carrying with him P1 million from Cusi, Moner went the following day to Cotabato where a chopper was waiting for him, then flew to Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi.
 
On the way, he received a call from Cusi, who then passed the phone to the then president’s husband.
 
“He just said, ‘Okay, thank you. Do everything for the President. After the elections, we will take care of you and your family,’’ Moner said, quoting Arroyo.
 
Moner added that at that time, he wasn’t sure who the owner of the helicopter was.
 
Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III told reporters after the hearing that it was not clear yet if the chopper Moner used was one of those sold to the PNP as brand new in 2009.
 
In sum, Moner said he gave P400,000 to a certain PO2 Alfrasad Sabal in Tawi-Tawi, P500,000 to sharia judge Bensandi Arabani in Sulu, and P50,000 to former sharia judge Casan-Ali Limbona in Sultan Kudarat to get in touch with and pay off election officers in their areas for the cheating opeations.
 
“At that time, the result of the counting at the precinct level showed FPJ winning by a landslide,” Moner said.
 
“Did you actually see to it that the election results were changed,” asked Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
 
Moner said he did not, but that he trusted the people he paid.
 
Moner further revealed that before this, on May 12, Cusi told him to remedy the situation in Lanao del Sur where Mrs. Arroyo was losing heavily, and gave him P100,000 as initial payment
 
In Marawi City, he met 17 election officers in the house of a certain Diana Datu-Imam. The election officers said the regional Comelec office had given them instructions to make Mrs. Arroyo win in heir areas.
 
Moner said he gave P5,000 to each election officer to make sure Mrs. Arroyo wins. Another man whom he did not know gave the election officers P15,000, he said.
 
The next day, May 13, Moner received P1 million from Cusi then went again to Marawi City, where Mrs. Arroyo was already leading overwhelmingly in the canvassing of votes.
 
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Tuesday’s hearing on the PNP chopper mess is the last, paving the way for the probe on poll fraud by the Blue Ribbon and electoral reform committees.