Former Philippine president Arroyo charged with election fraud

Updated On: Nov 22, 2011

Philippine police arrested former president Gloria Arroyo on Friday was arrested on charges of election fraud. She was later served an arrest warrant at her hospital bed in Manila, where police told reporters that she would be allowed to remain there until she was well enough to leave. If convicted, she could spend up to life in jail.

The decision by the Commission on Elections followed a week in which the government blocked Arroyo from seeking medical care abroad at Manila airport.

The election commission said Friday that Ms Arroyo had ordered the wide-scale tampering of ballots in the 2007 senatorial elections. It said the ballots that had been switched were in the southern province of Maguindanao, which was then ruled by the Ampatuan family, close allies of Arroyo who had a reputation as warlords who enforced their rule of the province for a decade with a brutal private army.

Report: Philippines' Arroyo arrested for vote rigging [AFP, 18 November 2011]

Report: After rough presidency, Arroyo fights to stay free [AP, 21 November 2011]

On Monday, lawyers for Ms Arroyo filed a petition to have her arrest overturned. Lawyers argue that the government rushed and disregarded legal procedures as they tried to stop her from leaving the country.

The Supreme Court ruled early last week that an initial ban on Ms Arroyo from travelling abroad was unconstitutional because she had at that point not been charged with any crime. The government then sought to quickly file criminal charges against her. Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez said a decision on Arroyo's latest petition could be made at a hearing on Tuesday.

President Benigno Aquino, who pledged that pursuing Ms Arroyo would be a top priority of his high-profile anti-graft campaign, has said she will soon be hit with other charges.

Lawyers have meanwhile expressed outrage that Ms Arroyo's mugshots were leaked online, while members of government have called for her to give up her house seat following her arrest.

Report: Philippines' Arroyo appeals arrest: lawyer [AFP, 22 November 2011]

Report: Arroyo to be detained temporarily in hospital suite [Today, 22 November 2011]

Related Article