Arroyo to Make Another Attempt to Leave Philippines

Posted November 15th, 2011 at 10:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Former Philippine president Gloria Arroyo is set to make another attempt to leave the country for medical treatment, a day after the government defied a court order and blocked her trip.

The former president wearing a neck brace and in a wheelchair arrived at the Manila airport late Tuesday in an ambulance. But the authorities prevented her from flying out of the country. The administration of President Benigno Aquino fears Ms. Arroyo wants to leave the country to avoid a graft probe.

Her spokeswoman Elena Bautista Horn denies that the former president plans to flee and seek asylum abroad.

The Supreme Court Tuesday issued a temporary order lifting the government travel ban against the 64-year old former leader so she could seek treatment abroad.

But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she had not received a copy of the order and instructed immigration officials to stop Ms. Arroyo and her family from leaving the country.

Mr. Arroyo's lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said the former president and her relatives would try again Wednesday to fly out.

The justice department has been investigating Ms. Arroyo for allegations of election rigging in the 2004 and 2007 polls. She and her husband are also facing corruption inquiries for several government contracts.