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Retired general in overpriced helicopter case allowed to travel

The Sandiganbayan has allowed a retired police general charged in connection with the 2009 sale of secondhand helicopters to the Philippine National Police to travel abroad.

The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division granted retired Police Director Luizo Ticman permission to travel to Australia from May 28 to June 7 to attend the Rotary International Convention, which will be held at Sydney Olympic Park.

Ticman is an incumbent Rotary District Governor.

Ticman was one of 22 officials charged in connection with the transaction, in which two secondhand Robinson R44 Raven 1 helicopters from Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corporation (MAPTRA) were priced as brand-new and sold to the PNP.

The choppers were supplied to MAPTRA by Lionair Inc., supposedly acting on the orders of then-First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo.

In its resolution granting Ticman’s motion, the anti-graft court said it allowed Ticman to make the trip since he faithfully complied with the court's conditions in his earlier travels.

During Senate hearings, witnesses testified that Arroyo was the real owner of the secondhand choppers sold as brand new to the PNP. — Patricia Denise Chiu/BM, GMA News