Neri refuses to testify in Arroyo trial


Posted at Sep 26 2012 12:40 AM | Updated as of Oct 03 2012 02:55 AM

MANILA – Former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Romulo Neri has requested the Sandiganbayan to quash the subpoena requiring him to testify in the graft trial of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on the failed NBN-ZTE deal.

Neri said he cannot be compelled to testify against Arroyo as he himself faces a separate graft case stemming from the same deal.

Defense lawyer Paul Lentejas, meanwhile, argued that Neri's right to remain silent should be respected.

"The right to remain silent by any person under investigation for a crime is absolute. He need not answer any question propounded to him and he may not be summoned unless he waives that right," Lentejas said.

Lawyers of Arroyo also used the same argument in their own request for the court to junk Arroyo’s subpoena to testify against Neri.

Neri’s subpoena was issued by the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division last August 24.

He was required to appear before the graft court on October 1 and 2.