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MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.) Perhaps in an attempt to avoid reporters, former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo checked in at the Cathay Pacific counter at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 1 at 4 a.m., or two hours ahead of his 6 a.m. flight to Hong Kong before transiting to his Narita flight connections.
His Cathay Pacific flight CX 904 flight was a little bit delayed and took off at 6:25 a.m. bound for the former British crown colony.
Airlines sources said Arroyo arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport (Chek Lap Kok International Airport) past 8 a.m. and immediately went to the airport transit lounge while waiting for his connecting flight to Narita.
Arroyo’s immigration embarkation card reveals that he will be staying at the Imperial Hotel in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo located just south of the Imperial Palace grounds. Room rates for an ordinary standard room cost around Y38, 000 inclusive of tax or around P20,000 per night.
Sources said that Arroyo’s companion was a medical assistant who would assist him carrying a CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure, a portable oxygen concentrator used to treat apnea. Arroyo had surgery for a dissecting aortic aneurysm in 2007 that doctors prohibit him from carrying heavy luggage when traveling.
Print, radio, and TV reporters were seen at the entrance of the NAIA terminal 1 departure gate as early as 7 a.m. hoping to cover Arroyo’s departure but were disappointed to learn that the former first gentleman had taken an earlier flight at 6 a.m. instead for a connecting flight to Narita.
Arroyo’s earlier itinerary was for him to take a Japan Airlines flight today to Narita before going to Hong Kong and returning via Cathay Pacific on May 10.
Arroyo, who is accused of graft, was allowed by the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to travel to Japan and Hong kong from May 3 to 6, 2012 reportedly to meet investors who might be able to help solve the country’s power problem.
The former first gentleman reportedly paid P90,000 in travel bond and was required by the Sandiganbayan clerk of court to report his arrival back in the country.
Mr. Arroyo was allowed to travel after his arraignment on graft charges over the scrapped ZTE National Broadband Network deal.
Arroyo, together with his co-accused wife former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former elections chairman Benjamin Abalos, pleaded not guilty of the charges.