MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not file a pre-trial brief before the Sandiganbayan 4th Division over the 3 criminal charges she is facing in connection with the $329-million ZTE-National Broadband Network deal.
Her lawyers Estelito Mendoza, Jose Flaminiano, Ma. Claudette dela Cerna and Francis Tuliao believe that forcing her to file a pre-trial brief will violate her Constitutional right to be presumed innocent and remain silent.
"The accused will only be able to decide whether to present evidence in her defense or what evidence to present, after the prosecution has presented its evidence," the lawyers said.
However, they told the court that the Pampanga lawmaker should be excused from the legal implications of non-filing of a legal brief.
"(T)he Supreme Court has clearly, consistently and unequivocally held that an accused may stay mute and would only be obliged to present controverting evidence if the prosecution proved the elements of the offense beyond reasonable doubt," they said.
Arroyo is accused of entering into a transaction grossly disadvantageous to the country's interest, of having interest in the negotiation with hopes for personal gain, and accepting favors from Chinese firm ZTE.
The pre-trial proceedings will be held on June 4.
She has submitted a not guilty plea and was arraigned April 11.