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Arroyos, Abalos plead not guilty to NBN-ZTE graft raps

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo chats with the media while waiting for her arraignment on charges of graft before the Sandiganbayan Wednesday, April 12, 2012. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and husband and lawyer Jose Miguel Arroyo pleaded not guilty to allegations of graft and corruption involving the botched ZTE-NBN contract.

Also, co-accused and former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos entered the same plea.

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This is the second criminal case against Mrs. Arroyo, now Pampanga Representative, that reached the court and the first where she and her husband are co-accused.

Arroyo is facing two counts for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and a violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

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Her co-accused, facing one count of violation of the Anti-Graft Law are her husband, Abalos and former DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

Both Arroyo and Abalos are currently detained for electoral sabotage which is pending before the Pasay Court.

Mendoza’s arraignment has been deferred after he suffered stroke in March.

Arroyo told reporters before her arraignment Wednesday that her doctors advised her not to attend because she was feeling ill, but she did not want to postpone it. She said she had shingles.

Joining her at the Sandiganbayan were son and Congressman Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, spokesperson Elena Bautista Horn, and her doctors.

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TAGS: Benjamin Abalos, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Graft and Corruption, Jose Miguel Arroyo, Mike Arroyo, NBN-ZTE Deal, NBN-ZTE Scandal, Politics
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