Mike Arroyo snubs Senate probe on PNP choppers

By David Dizon, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Aug 11 2011 09:27 AM | Updated as of Aug 11 2011 10:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - He's back but he is not appearing in the Senate inquiry.

Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo will not attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry Thursday on the Philippine National Police's purchase of  pre-owned helicopters.

Arroyo's lawyer, Inocencio Ferrer, said his client cannot attend the hearings because of his heart ailment. He said Arroyo is willing to be examined by a Senate designated physician.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III recommended that a government doctor and the Senate physician examine the veracity of Arroyo's medical condition.

In his opening statement, he said Arroyo should come to the Senate and disprove the allegations that he sold 2 pre-owned choppers to the PNP.

"Huwag tayong magtago sa likod ng medical certificate para iwasan ang pagdalo dito sa Senado," he said.

Helicopter supplier Archibald Po earlier identified Arroyo as the original owner of 2 helicopters that were sold as brand new for $350,000 each to the PNP. Arroyo has denied owning the helicopters and sued Po for perjury.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has approved the inclusion of Po and MAPTRA president Hilario de Vera into the Witness Protection and Security Benefit Act.

Meanwhile, Arroyo's alleged secretary, Rowena del Rosario, also declined to appear before the inquiry, saying that she needs to hire a lawyer first.

Sen. Franklin Drilon noted del Rosario was appointed as an official of the Home Development Mutual Fund, also known as Pag-IBIG Fund, in an acting capacity in 2005. She became a regular official in March 2010.