Arroyo insists on inspection of evidence vs her

Rappler.com
Detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asked the Sandiganbayan to compel prosecutors to produce all evidence vs her

MANILA, Philippines – Detained former President now Pampanga Rep Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday, May 3, asked the Sandiganbayan’s fourth division to junk objections raised by the government to her motion asking the court to compel prosecutors to produce all material evidence against her and to permit her lawyers to review and photocopy every single one.
 
Mrs Arroyo is insisting that she has the right to access any and all evidence that the prosecution may offer during her trial on graft charges concerning the cancelled US$329-M national broadband network (NBN) project of Chinese telecom firm, ZTE Inc.
 
Defense lawyers Estelito Mendoza and Ma Claudette A. dela Cerna argued that the former President has a right to be fully apprised of the scope of the prosecution’s evidence to enable her to make a proper defense in court.
 
Among the documents Arroyo’s lawyers want to scrutinize are various complaints filed with the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the NBN-ZTE controversy; affidavits or statements submitted by persons who testified at the Senate inquiry or those who may be presented later as government witnesses; and designated documents, papers, letters, books, photographs or any tangible objects that may become part of the prosecution’s exhibits.
 
Prosecutors have objected on grounds that Arroyo’s motion is misplaced. They said that all original documents pertaining to the case have been submitted to the graft court and are now part of the case record.
 
Full disclosure

The defense however cautioned prosecutors against sweeping aside Arroyo’s request as the Rules of Court require them to make a full disclosure prior to the start of the trial and any document in their possession that they fail to identify would be a ground to challenge the government’s case.
 
“The prosecution would be well advised…that should there be other documents (not produced for inspection), it stands the risk of nullification of the proceedings in the instant case,” Mendoza and dela Cerna said.
 
Arroyo’s camp noted that on April 19, 2008, the Ombudsman issued a resolution dismissing all complaints against the former President. A motion for reconsideration was likewise denied in a ruling dated April 21, 2009.
 
“There is no doubt that in that investigation resulting in the dismissal of the complaints, there are several written statements or documents which are not among those submitted by the prosecution together with the information (in the present case),” the defense pointed out. – Rappler.com