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Mike Arroyo wants case junked

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 01:40 AM July 06, 2016
Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo. FILE PHOTO

Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo. FILE PHOTO

FORMER first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo asked the Sandiganbayan antigraft court on Tuesday to throw out a corruption case against him over the scuttled $329-million national broadband network project with China’s ZTE Corp., calling it an “inexistent, victimless crime” whose key witness was motivated by “biblical envy.”

Arroyo argued for his acquittal as he moved to discredit one of the whistle-blowers in the case, Jose “Joey” De Venecia III, son and namesake of the former  House Speaker, as a disreputable witness, whose claims the prosecution had failed to corroborate.

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Demurrer

Through his lawyer, Ruy Alberto Rondain, Arroyo filed a demurrer to evidence before the court’s Fourth Division asking to be absolved of the graft charges linking him, and his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to the controversial deal, which was aborted in 2007.

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A demurrer to evidence is a pleading by an accused seeking the dismissal of the case over the failure of the prosecution to present strong evidence.

Biblical envy

“If Joey can’t have it, no one can. This is therefore nothing but a case of biblical envy. It is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, probably because it consumes people, and it pushes them to do unjust acts,” Arroyo argued in the 54-page demurrer.

De Venecia had said Arroyo told him to “back off” the deal, a claim that the latter stressed remains uncorroborated. He said it

was “insufficient to prove a conspiracy” adding that even De Venecia’s own father did not support the claim.

Arroyo said the prosecution failed to establish his involvement in the deal, stressing that the primary witness against him, De Venecia III, was “not a credible source.”

Incredible claim

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“Aside from De Venecia III’s perjurious and incredible claim that Jose Miguel told him this was ‘his project,’ no other evidence was presented to incriminate Jose Miguel. None of the witnesses had ever met him, or heard him discuss the NBN project with anyone,” Arroyo said.

De Venecia III, then the president and owner of the losing bidder Amsterdam Holdings Inc., only cried foul when it became apparent he would lose the deal, Arroyo stressed.

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TAGS: Jose Miguel Arroyo, Nation, News, Sandiganbayan, ZTE Corp.
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