Sandiganbayan orders arrest of Arroyos, former execs-A A +A
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
MANILA -- The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has ordered the arrest of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her husband and other officials during her administration in connection with the botched national broadband network deal.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, counsel for former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, said his client was already getting ready to post bail for the graft charge in relation to the $329-million national broadband network with China's ZTE Corp. Inc.
"My client is now ready to turn himself in to the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and to post the necessary bail," he said on ANC Tuesday morning.
Topacio said his client was surprised by this development as the Arroyos have sought for the deferment of the arrest orders after they sought a judicial determination of probable cause and hoped for an oral argument to prove that the court has no basis to indict them and their co-accused.
He said the strongest argument against any finding of probable cause is the fact that the contract did not push through and that there was no injury caused on the part of the government.
The former President is accused of entering into a contract disadvantageous to the government and for allegedly receiving "directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, or favor" so the deal would go through.
Arroyo's fellow accused in the graft case are resigned Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos and former Transportation secretary Leandro Mendoza. Both are also ordered arrested by the anti-graft court.
The former officials were charged with using their positions in government to push through the overpriced multi-million dollar deal.
Former President Arroyo is currently on hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, while Abalos is detained at the Southern Police District. Both were charged with electoral sabotage in connection with the alleged rigging of the result during the 2007 midterm elections.
Arroyo pleaded not guilty to the electoral sabotage charge but other accused, including Abalos, have yet to enter their pleas. (Sunnex)