Gloria Arroyo's trial may last 3 years

By Perseus Echeminada, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 10 2012 02:27 AM | Updated as of Jul 10 2012 09:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC)Branch 112 is drawing up its schedule to insure the uninterrupted proceedings of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s trial on her electoral sabotage case, which could last for three years.

Arroyo, along with former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Commission on Elections (Comelec) lawyer Lintang Bedol, is facing charges in relation to alleged cheating in the 2007 midterm election in Maguindanao.

Joel Pelicano, Branch 112 Clerk of Court, told The STAR that Judge Jesus Mupas has already designated every Wednesday as trial day.

He said they will be coordinating with the Sandiganbayan where a graft case against Arroyo is also being heard to avoid conflict of schedule.

Considering the number of witnesses to be presented, it is likely that direct and cross examination of every witness may take up to three weeks or even months.

The Comelec has lined up at least 32 witnesses. They have already presented 12, including former Maguindanao administrator Norie Unas, who was presented during the bail hearing of the former president.

“To speed up the proceedings, the prosecution may adopt the testimonies already presented in the bail hearings,” Pelicano said.

Mupas has already terminated the proceedings of the petition for bail filed by Arroyo and the court is set to decide on whether to grant or deny it.