GMA arraignment set April 11

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2012 09:31 PM | Updated as of Mar 28 2012 04:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expected at the Sandiganbayan 4th Division on April 11 for her arraignment in a graft and corruption case over the NBN-ZTE deal.

Atty. Joffre Zapanta, clerk of court of the 4th Division, said Arroyo and her co-accused, which include husband Mike, former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, are required to appear before the court on April 11 to enter their plea of guilty or not guilty to the cases.

The respondents are charged with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct for Government Personnel.

The arraignment will be followed by a pre-trial conference before the actual trial begins. Zapanta said the accused have the option to file for waivers of appearances.

Zapanta and 2 other court personnel were at the Veterans' Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) to finish the processing of Arroyo’s bail. Arroyo is detained at VMMC for the non-bailable offense of electoral sabotage in connection with alleged vote-rigging in Maguindanao in the 2007 elections.

Zapanta clarified Arroyo already posted bail on March 26 but had asked that court personnel go to VMMC for the processing of other requirements instead of Arroyo going to the anti-graft court. Bail was set at P70,000.

Among the requirements she completed at the VMMC were the fingerprinting, filing of personal information sheets and undertakings.

Mugshots were not taken but Arroyo provided 3 pictures, one for her front side and her sides.

Zapanta said the process took less than 20 minutes.

Arroyo was accompanied by her chief of staff and spokesperson, Elena Bautista Horn, and legal counsels Jose Flaminiano, Jay Flaminiano and Lawrence Arroyo.

Her husband, Mike, was not present.