Businessman Jose “Joey” de Venecia 3rd, a main prosecution witness in the botched national broadband network (NBN) deal anomaly, practically cleared former President and now Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga, who is under hospital arrest, of wrongdoing in the deal.
De Venecia 3rd, a whistleblower who took the witness stand before the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division for cross-examination, told defense lawyers that he believes Arroyo did not have any involvement or did not receive any so-called kickback from the deal.
The son of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. said he felt it was “unacceptable” for people who are involved in the deal to be name dropping Arroyo, since he believed she did not have participation in the transaction.
Bombarded by a series of questions from Arroyo’s lawyer, Laurence Arroyo, de Venecia 3rd, responded “yes sir” to queries on whether or not he believed the former president was not involved in the controversy and that she was just dragged in to the issue despite her lack of knowledge of the details surrounding it.
Defense lawyers also pointed out that de Venecia 3rd did not mention Arroyo in his first and only sworn affidavit, and only did in the Senate investigations on the botched deal.
De Venecia also admitted that his firm, Amsterdam Holdings Inc. (AHI), which is the competitor of ZTE to the broadband project, stood to earn at least P400 million a year if awarded the NBN project.
The ZTE deal was eventually scrapped by Arroyo after corruption allegations.