Anti-Graft Court Orders Arrest Of GMA, Three Others For NBN-ZTE Deal

by Kobakila News

MANILA  — The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court on Tuesday ordered the arrest of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her husband Jose Miguel, and two other former officials during her incumbency for the scrapped and scandal-ridden NBN-ZTE deal.

Also ordered arrested were former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Benjamin Abalos Sr. and former Transportation and Communications chief Leandro Mendoza.

The four were slapped with graft charges alleging that they used their positions in government to push through the $329-million national broadband network (NBN) project in 2007 as proposed by China’s Zhong Xing Telecommunications Inc.

Malacañang on Tuesday welcomed the arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan against them.

“We believe it’s a step in the right direction,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said at a press briefing, noting that the arrest warrant was a preventive measure to ensure that the accused are in the country while the case is being heard.

“[The accused] can be present in their day in court and they will be able to defend themselves in the best possible manner,” she said.

Both Mrs. Arroyo and Abalos are currently detained for separate poll sabotage charges.

The former president is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City while Abalos is detained at the Southern Police District Jail in Pasay City.

Mike Arroyo has posted a P30,000 bail for his temporary liberty after his lawyer, Edna Batacan filed an urgent Omnibus Motion saying there was no basis to indict her client and his co-accused as the NBN-ZTE contract was rescinded the project did not push through.

Ex-President Arroyo was implicated in the case amid reports that she did not do anything to stop the government from forging a deal with the Chinese firm despite being made aware of its repercussions to the country.

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PHOTO CAPTION:

Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, center, holds documents after posting bail at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan following an order for his arrest in suburban Quezon City.

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