MANILA, Philippines - The camp of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo wants the graft case against him over the National Broadband Network (NBN)-ZTE broadband deal quashed.
In a motion filed by his lawyers at the Sandiganbayan, Arroyo's camp argued that the case against him may still be quashed even after he was arraigned back in April 2012.
Arroyo was charged in an Information for alleged violation of Section 3 (g) of Republic Act No. 3019 in connection with the ZTE contract signed and executed in Boao, China, which is therefore outside the criminal jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.
The motion said the information is defective on the following grounds:
- It charges a crime allegedly committed in China. Although the Information alleges the place of commission as Malacañang, Manila, Philippines, the records and evidence of the Prosecution indubitably show that the assailed act of signing and execution of the NBN-ZTE contract happened in Boao, China (a fact which is admitted by the Prosecution in the Joint Stipulation of Facts and Common Exhibits, No. 5, dated June 6, 2010) and is therefore outside of the criminal jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.
- The contract was already cancelled and abrogated.
- Moreover, accused Arroyo is NOT a public official. "Arroyo is a private individual and has never held any position in government, DURING and AFTER the TENURE of his wife, former President Ma. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo." Atty. Arroyo was not a contracting party or a representative of one in the NBN-ZTE contract.
The motion further argued that R.A. 3019 does not contain any provision that would extend its application to acts or omissions outside of Philippine jurisdiction.
It also pointed out that "by the terms of the NBN-ZTE contract, it could not be effective upon the mere signing thereof, as it was still subject to several conditions for its effectiveness."