Sandiganbayan to proceed with Mike Arroyo’s graft trial

THE trial of the graft case against former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo will proceed on the basis of sufficient evidence.

In a resolution, the Sandiganbayan 7th Division junked the motions filed by the accused, including Arroyo, for the anti-graft court to allow their demurrer to evidence.

Atty. Arroyo was charged with graft in the alleged overpriced sale of second-hand chopper to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2009.

Chaired by Judge Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta, the anti-graft court, said there appears to be sufficient evidence which necessitates the presentation of evidence from the defense.

The demurrer to evidence is being filed by accused individuals for an outright dismissal of the case if they believe that the prosecution was not able to present sufficient evidence against them.

“The most cost-effective and expeditious way to do this is to proceed to trial, unabated by any other motions,” the resolution read.

Associate Justices Zaldy Trespeses and Georgina Hidalgo concurred with the Gomez-Estoesta.

The court noted that the husband of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, simply reiterated in his position that the prosecution was not able to prove his ownership of the subject helicopters as well as his supposed connivance with the public officials involved.

For his part, former national police chief Jesus Verzosa, co-accused of Arroyo, stressed that he merely signed procurement documents, and there was no showing he participated in biddings, as well as his supposed knowledge of any irregularity in the procurement of the choppers.

The prosecution however maintained that the arguments were already addressed in their consolidated opposition.
“At this instance, the assertions of private accused Arroyo cannot defeat, without controverting evidence on his part, the evidence mostly presented against him, among others, by prosecution witnesses Archibald Po, Renato Sia and Editha Solano Juguan,” the court said.