Sandiganbayan issues arrest warrant vs Arroyos, et al

Posted at 03/13/2012 10:56 AM | Updated as of 03/13/2012 4:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The Sandiganbayan has issued an arrest warrant against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband Mike in connection with the junked National Broadband Network deal.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio confirmed the news. Arrest warrants were also issued to former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza and former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos.

Topacio said his client, the former First Gentleman, “is ready to turn himself to the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.” He said they will post the necessary bail.

In separate motions filed earlier, both Arroyo and Mendoza said there is no basis for the arrest because the deal was already rescinded.

They said the case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman was based, therefore, on a non-existent contract.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed graft charges against them last week for supposedly exerting influence for the approval of the NBN-ZTE project.

The former First Gentleman cited the case of Henry Go vs. Sandiganbayan, where the Supreme Court ruled that a private individual cannot be held liable for a supposed violation of Section 3(g).

They added the deal was a government-to-government transaction. Thus, it was insulated from direct or indirect influence from private parties.

Topacio said they have also asked for oral arguments on the matter.