Arroyo asks Sandiganbayan to junk NBN-ZTE graft case

Posted at 01/17/2013 9:01 PM | Updated as of 01/17/2013 9:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is asking the Sandiganbayan 4th Division to dismiss the graft case filed against her and 3 other people in connection with the junked $329-million National Broadband Network project proposed by China's ZTE Corp.

Her lawyers claimed that the prosecution made an adverse admission that clears Arroyo.

Defense lawyers Jose Flaminiano, J. Alberto Flaminiano, Laurence Hector B. Arroyo and Jose Aurelio B. Alban said the Sandiganbayan should recall its January 7, 2013 resolution that denied her motion to quash along with similar pleadings filed by her husband former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza and former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr.

The prosecution allegedly said "the NBN-ZTE contract was signed and executed in Boao, China on April 21, 2007" and "the NBN-ZTE Contract was subsequently cancelled and abrogated in October 2007."

Arroyo's lawyers said this means that the venue of the offense is outside the court's jurisdiction.

The abrogation of the NBN-ZTE deal also means that she should not be made liable, the defense said.

"These admissions are binding on the Prosecution and the admitted facts no longer require proof," Arroyo's lawyers said.

"Given that the facts of contract execution in China and the contract cancellation are admitted and/or undeniable facts, President Arroyo may properly invoke them," they added.