Sandiganbayan OKs Mike Arroyo's Taiwan, Japan trips

By Czarina Nicole Ong

Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo has been given the go signal by the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division to travel to Taipei, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan from January 17 to 25, 2019.

MB FILE—Former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is seen at the Sandiganbayan 5th Division, July 2, 2014, as he attends a hearing on graft charges lodged against him in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of helicopters in 2009. Arroyo was charged before the anti-graft court over the supposed anomaly where secondhand choppers were sold as brand new to the Philippine National Police. He pleaded not guilty. (Mark Balmores) MANILA BULLETIN Former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is seen at the Sandiganbayan 5th Division.

In his motion for leave to travel abroad, Arroyo revealed that he will be in Taipei on January 17 to 20. He will be staying at the Amba Taipei Ximending Hotel. He will travel next to Tokyo from January 20 to 25, and he will stay at the Ascot Marunouchi.

The anti-graft court granted his motion over the objection of the prosecution, provided that his itinerary of travel shall cover only Taipei and Tokyo. He is also required to maintain his travel bond amounting to P90,000 to guarantee his faithful compliance with the terms and conditions imposed.

"That he will abide faithfully with all his undertakings herein, such that any violation of the terms and conditions contained in this resolution shall be sufficient ground for this court to order the forfeiture of his travel bond, as well as to cause the issuance of a warrant of his arrest," the resolution read.

Even if Arroyo fails to return from his travels, the anti-graft court said his trial will proceed as scheduled.

Arroyo is facing graft charges in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of overpriced helicopters by the Philippine National Police (PNP) back in 2009. He was charged along with 19 others, including former PNP Chief Jesus Versoza, for reportedly purchasing secondhand helicopters for P34.6 million and passing them off as brand-new.

Since being charged, Arroyo has been allowed to make over 30 trips abroad, mostly to Hong Kong and Japan.