Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo entered pleas of not guilty to the charges for violations of the anti graft and corrupt practices act and the code of conduct for public officials filed against her before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the NBN ZTE Deal.
Former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza will be arraigned on may 14 since he is still recuperating from a mild stroke.
the next court hearing, a pre trial conference, is set on June 4.
the Arroyos and Abalos are expected to file waivers of appearance.
Mike Arroyo also told media he plans to secure court permission to travel overseas. however he declined to give details of his planned trip next month.
the former leader’s legal counsel initially tried to have her arraignment waived because of her medical codnition. Flaminiano told the court arroyo has shingles.
the sandiganbayan fourth dicvision however decided to arraign the former leader.
the court also approved the prosecution’s decision to amend the information filed afainst the arroyos, to reflect their full legal names as maria Gloria macaraeg macapagal arroyo and jose Miguel tuason arroyo.
abalos meantime took the opportunity to post a 30 thousand peso bail for the graft acse before returning to the SPD where he is detained.
the court room was filled with mostly defense lawyers and their camp and mediamen. no tv cameras were allowed inside. arroyo was accompanied by her chief of staff Elena bautista horn, former budget secretary jake lagonera, mike arroyo’s lawyer edna batacan, lawyer Laurence arroyo and ang galling pinoy rep. mikey arroyo.
the arraignment occurred amid heavy security. however it lasted less than an hour.
Arroyo spoke gamely to media while waiting for her arraignment and elaborated about her shingles and her leg bandage.
Arroyo’s left leg is bound in kinesio tape as part of her therapy.
she also taked about how shingles almost prevented her from coming to sandiganbayan. “now I have to continue because I have the shingles I hope you all have already chicken pox. I have the shingles now but it gets, its contagious but you will not get shingles you will get chicken pox. its hard to postpone it.
so anyway I hope the proceeding will be fast.”
Arroyo added, “ I felt the symptoms Friday yung severe back ache and they saw the blisters when acupuncture doctor saw blisters but the pain because ive always had pain, I have additional pain that Friday”
Arroyo’s doctors at the VMMC accompanied her to the court.
Arroyo in detention spends her days with a morning walk daily, physical therapist, and mass. doctors have prohibited her form having soda and foods with visible fat. she receives vistors from 3 to 9 pm. “mass in the morning
except that now I did not go to mass yesterday I have not been feeling well because of the shingles pain is severe in shingle sits like a very very bad flu because its nerve”
Arroyo also spends time with her grandchildren. “well they come to visit but I have time to spend , less time because they have to take a car to visit me, before they used to walk now no they have.”
Arroyo is also working on her memoirs. “I’m writing more than reading
im writing my memoirs although I read I don’t know if im halfway
right now im writing about the social bias wiritng about the housing how we kept price of gasoline from going too high inspite of fact world prices were higher.”
Mike Arroyo for his part said he was okay and said the graft case was just art of the persecution against his family. “panggipit lang talaga ito sa amin di naman talaga kami guilty ditto.”
Mike also says his wife is in pain. “ may sakit siya may shingles siya
masakit na yung likod niya ako okay ako salamat sa inyo”
mike’s lawyer edna batacan says mike has opted to attend each and every court date so he would be aware of the proceedings.
the former president’s lawyer jose flaminiano says the former president is not likely to attend succeeding hearings. he doesn’t see any impact of the impeachment trial of chief justice renato corona on the arroyo trial.
arroyo’s legal spokesman raul lambino says the former president and her family have continued to remain faithful and have a firm belief in the judicial system of the country.