Alleged drug dealer's car loaned to Mikey Arroyo staff

Posted at 11/21/12 10:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The sports utility vehicle (SUV) with red license plates seized from an alleged American drug dealer in Makati City was allegedly loaned to a staff of Juan Miguel ‘Mikey’ Arroyo, the National Power Corporation (NPC) said.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, NPC said it has been attempting to recover for the last two years the Mitsubishi Pajero that was found in the possession of suspect Brian Hills during a buy-bust operation conducted by police on Tuesday.

Authorities seized nine kilograms of shabu from Hills' condominium unit and one kilogram of shabu from the  Pajero vehicle. Police said the confiscated drugs were worth about P50 million.

NPC said the vehicle was temporarily loaned to Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Arroyo's former Chief of Staff Atty. Antonio Mariano Almeda.

Official documents showed that Almeda requested NPC for an SUV vehicle in April 2008 after he was tasked by the House Committee on Energy, then chaired by Arroyo, to inspect all of NPC's decommissioned power plants in Luzon and in some parts of Eastern Visayas.

NPC said it granted Almeda's request and temporarily assigned the Mitsubishi Pajero to him.

Almeda, however, failed to return the vehicle.

NPC then attempted to recover the Pajero by writing to Arroyo's office in June 2010 and again in August 2010.

"(But) both requests were never replied upon by the congressman's office," NPC said.

NPC again wrote to Arroyo's office in March 2011 but was ignored for the third time.

NPC said it then filed a formal complaint before the Highway Patrol Group of the Philippine National Police on May 6, 2011 in an attempt to secure a hold order or recall of the Pajero.

Not Mikey's property

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, a lawyer of the Arroyo family, said the car was indeed used by Mikey's staff.

However, in 2010, when Mikey's chairmanship of the energy committee ended, he ordered that all assets be returned.

"We don't know what happened after 2010...We are not doing an inquiry kung bakit napunta doon sa Amerikano," Topacio said.

He urged the public not to jump into conclusions.