Arroyo wants to see evidence against her in NBN-ZTE case
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo insists on being allowed to inspect and copy the statements of the complainants and witnesses, as well as other prosecution evidence, against her in preparation for the pretrial of the graft cases she is facing in connection with the aborted national broadband network deal with China’s ZTE Corp. (NBN-ZTE).
Arroyo, in a motion filed before the Sandiganbayan 4th Division, disputed the prosecution’s opposition to her plea, saying the rules of court allow her to have copies of these documents.
She noted that Section 10 of Rule 116 of the Rules of Court states that upon motion of the accused, the court may order the prosecution to produce and permit the inspection and copying of any written statements given by the complainant and other witnesses in any investigation of the offense conducted by the prosecution, as well as any other material evidence not considered privileged.
Among the written statements that she is seeking are those of ZTE officials Yu Yong and Fan Yang, NBN consultant Rodolfo Lozada and losing NBN bidder Jose de Venecia, who are among the witnesses the prosecution intends to present.
The prosecution earlier said the originals of the evidence that Arroyo was seeking were in the court’s possession. It also said these were already part of the complaints that the former president challenged when she filed her counter-affidavit during the preliminary investigation of the case in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Arroyo could not have refuted the allegations in the complaint without the documents that she was now requesting, the prosecution said.
In her reply filed Thursday, Arroyo said the fact that the originals of the evidence she wanted to inspect were with the court was not a ground for opposing her plea.
She said all that she was asking for was for the prosecution to comply with the rules of court and allow her to inspect the previously given statements of witnesses that were going to be presented against her.
“It would be naïve to assume that the prosecution intends to present a witness whose statement it had not previously taken,” she said.
Arroyo is charged with two counts of graft and one count of breach of the code of conduct for public officials for her alleged role in the approval of the $329-million NBN-ZTE deal, which the Ombudsman said was disadvantageous to the government. She has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. Leila B. Salaverria
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