Anti-graft court rules to proceed with Arroyo trial over helicopter deal

THE ANTI-GRAFT court denied for lack of merit the bid of former first gentleman Jose Miguel T. Arroyo and his co-accused for a demurrer to evidence in connection with a helicopter purchase deal with the police in 2009. The prosecution alleges that the accused sold second-hand helicopters as brand new to the Philippine National Police (PNP). “Where there thus appears sufficiency of evidence preliminarily weighed at this instance, it is only for the accused to present their defense for a proper appreciation of the charges. The most cost-effective and expeditious way to do this is to proceed to trial, unabated by any other motions,” the Sandiganbayan said in its minutes of the proceedings held on January 30. A demurrer to evidence is filed by the accused for an outright dismissal of the case based on supposed insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution. “This Court has already ruled…that there is sufficient evidence to establish the crimes charged. The appreciation of evidence has to be done on a wholistic perspective in consideration of the facts and evidence presented,” Sandiganbayan said. Aside from Mr. Arroyo, the others accused are Jesus A. Versoza, Romeo C. Hilomen, Roman E. Loreto, Avensuel G. Dy, Claudio D.S. Caspar Jr., Ronald D. Roderos, Ruben S. Gongona, Ma. Linda A. Padojinog, Leocadio Salva C. Santiago Jr., Erminalndo O. Villafuerte, and Job Nilan D. Antionio. — Genshen L. Espedido