• Neri begs to be excused in NBN-ZTE hearing


    ROMULO Neri won’t just testify against former-President Gloria Arroyo in the $329-million national broadband network deal.

    The camp of the former chief of the National Economic and Development Authority wants to be excused at the July 1 and 2 hearing of Arroyo in the botched telecommunications deal.

    This after the Office of the Ombudsman sent a subpoena, which he already challenged on the grounds of possible violation of his rights to silence and against self-incrimination.

    The Sandiganbayan denied in April his motion to quash subpoena and ordered that he must face the questioning of state prosecutors.

    In a pitch to overturn the decision, Neri filed a motion for reconsideration which is still pending before the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division.

    Neri said that without the resolution of the motion for reconsideration, the Sandiganbayan must “excuse movant [Neri] from appearing as a witness.”

    In case the Sandiganbayan rules against him once again, his lawyer Paul Lentejas said that they will elevate the case before the Supreme Court.

    Earlier, in quashing the court order, Neri said that his 11-hour long testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is “more than enough to pin down any criminal liability” on Arroyo.

    He said that the prosecution can simply verify from a Senate officer those transcripts as they are public records.

    He added that to subpoena him might place him in a precarious situation as he may “unnecessarily incriminate himself in violation of his constitutional right to remain silent.”

    He also raised that he is facing a graft charge on the same botched deal.

    But the Sandiganbayan said that “Neri’s motion to quash subpoena is without merit.”


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