Neri: Senate testimony enough on NBN-ZTE deal

Posted at 11/06/12 7:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri on Tuesday said his Senate testimony on the $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) project under China's Zhing Ying Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) is enough to convict all accused in the Sandiganbayan case.

Neri, in an 18-page motion filed before the Sandiganbayan 4th Division, said he no longer has anything to add to the statements he made during his 11-hour long testimony before the Senate on September 26, 2007.

"(T)he more than 11 hours of testimony by the movant before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and before this Division of this Court in the Abalos case supplemented by numerous documentary exhibits…are more than enough to pin any criminal liability upon all the accused in the above-captioned cases," he said.

Neri wants the Sandiganbayan to recall a subpoena requiring him to testify in the graft trial of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the NBN-ZTE deal. 

He argued that the court can't force him to be a witness for the prosecution because he is also facing a graft case involving the same project.

"Movant is invoking his constitutional right to remain silent because he is an accused in criminal case no. sb-10-crm-0099. (W)hatever testimony which movant may give in these cases could and would be easily used by the prosecution against the movant," said his lawyer, Paul Lentejas.

"(F)urther testimony by the movant would be ridden with pitfalls of self-incrimination and will thus be risky so prudence dictates that movant must now clam up and shut up by invoking his right to remain silent pursuant to Sec. 12, Art. III of the 1987 Constitution,"
Lentejas added.

Neri said any attempt to put him on the witness stand may only result in incriminating himself.

"Due to his exhaustive testimony before the Senate, movant has already narrated everything that needs to be revealed to the public authorities and, thus, he has actually nothing more to add," his petition said.

Neri also told the court that he will be in Hong Kong from November 7 to 10 after he secured a travel pass from the Sandiganbayan 5th Division.

He said he will attend board meetings of the Board of Directors of San Miguel Hong Kong Corporate, where he serves as an adviser.