The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division stood pat on its ruling dismissing the graft complaint filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, and former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. in connection with the botched $329-million national broadband network (NBN) deal.
In a six-page resolution dated November 10, the court denied for lack of merit the prosecution’s plea to reconsider the earlier ruling.
The court said it has “exhaustively discussed” the elements of the offense charged and that the prosecution’s evidence “failed to meet and satisfy the required elements.”
Arroyo is now a member of the House of Representatives, representing the second district of Pampanga.
In 2011, the spouses Arroyo and Abalos were accused of violating Section 3(g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“Even granting, without conceding, that the NBN Contract was grossly disadvantageous, it should be emphasized that said contract was nevertheless cancelled. Following the ruling in Duterte v. Sandiganbayan, which the Court relied upon in resolving the instant case, the contract subject of this case no longer exists long before the filing of the Information in Court,” the court said.
Associate Justice Jose Hernandez, who leads the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division, and Associate Justices Alex Quiroz and Geraldine Faith Econg signed the resolution.