Ex-Neda chief asks court to dismiss NBN-ZTE graft charge
Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri has asked the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the evidence against him over the government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp. as he filed a leave to file a motion for demurrer.
Neri asked the fifth division for permission to file a demurrer of evidence to dismiss the graft charge against him for allegedly receiving a P200-million bribe to approve the graft-ridden project.
In the motion for leave, Neri said the prosecution failed to prove he received a bribe from then Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos, who also faced graft for allegedly brokering the deal with China in exchange for commission.
A former National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) director general, Neri said the only evidence against him was a testimony by Jun Lozada who said he was told by Abalos to deliver the bribe to Neri.
Lozada served as the technical adviser of Neri.
“During the trial on the merits, the prosecution failed to present any evidence linking Neri to the alleged payola or commissions supposedly received by some high public officials of the former Arroyo administration,” Neri’s motion said.
Neri denied receiving any bribe to approve the NBN-ZTE project.
“Those bribe offer and supposed statement are not sufficient to attach any criminal liability upon accused Neri … On top of that, the said bribe offer was actually rejected or was not accepted by Neri at all. Hence, the offer remained just an offer, nothing more,” the motion said.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Abalos face graft charges for their hand in the approval of the overpriced deal. Marc Jayson Cayabyab/RC
What went before: The NBN-ZTE deal
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