Thursday, February 2, 2012

News Update Ping: Mike A, Iggy have P4-billion deposits

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Panfilo Lacson says he has documents to prove that former first gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo and his late brother Ignacio or Iggy each owned bank accounts containing over P2 billion. Lacson yesterday said the two accounts are in one bank, and that these are still active. The accounts are no longer in the names of “Jose Pidal” but those of Mike’s and Iggy’s, Lacson added. Lacson said he intended to revive the Jose Pidal probe with the new evidence in his possession. “There was really no closure (on the issue),” he said. “There really has to be closure, but not at this time because Iggy has yet to be buried.” Lacson asked Ferdinand Topacio, the lawyer of Mike Arroyo, to ask his client for a written waiver on the money contained in the accounts. “That’s my information and I have documents to back it up,” Lacson said. Topacio, quoting Mike Arroyo, said if Lacson could find any such deposits, he could have the money. Speaking over ANC, Topacio dared Lacson to prove his allegation. The lawyer also voiced suspicion that the issue of Jose Pidal was being revived to divert attention from the apparent bungling of the case against Chief Justice Renato Corona, who is facing an impeachment trial. Lacson said he heard there was a challenge from Mike Arroyo, as quoted by Topacio, that they are willing to donate any such bank deposits. “Well, I accept the challenge. I will put in the account numbers, name or names of the bank or banks and the account name. Then I will let him sign the waiver,” Lacson said. “But I won’t donate it to families of criminals. If Topacio wishes to donate to the families of notorious hold-uppers, let him do it on his own.” Lacson dared to prove allegations In an interview over radio dwIZ, Topacio questioned the revival of the Jose Pidal issue. It could be an attempt to cover up the weakness of the prosecutors in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, he added. “Why are they resurrecting the issue?” he asked. Topacio said Lacson has yet to prove his allegations for the past nine years. “Senator Lacson has been talking about Jose Pidal for nine years,” he said in Filipino. “If he has evidence, he must show it. We are just wondering why he is resurrecting the issue.” The Senate investigated the Jose Pidal accounts in 2005, two years after Lacson delivered a privilege speech on the issue. The turning point of the probe was when Iggy appeared before the Senate to claim ownership of the accounts. Signatures of Iggy were compared with those in the bank documents by the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory. Chief Superintendent Restituto Mosqueda, Crime Laboratory head, testified that the signatures in the bank documents were not made by Mike Arroyo. In August last year, Mosqueda reappeared before the Senate to claim that he conspired with Mike and Iggy Arroyo in forging the signatures. Lacson said he would probably pursue the probe after the impeachment trial of Corona. – With Perseus Echeminada - By Marvin Sy