Former Philippine Leader Gloria Arroyo Arrested in Hospital

Posted November 18th, 2011 at 10:45 am (UTC-5)
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Former Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has been arrested in her hospital room on electoral fraud charges, the latest in a high-profile case heightened by the former leader's attempt to leave the country for medical treatment.

A Philippine official who served Ms. Arroyo with an arrest warrant Friday said the former leader would be permitted to remain in the hospital in Manila, where her aides say she is receiving treatment for a bone disease. She has been in the hospital since Tuesday night after she and her husband were stopped at the Manila airport and prevented from leaving because of the ongoing investigations.

The warrant, which prevents Ms. Arroyo from leaving the country, was issued hours after the Philippines election commission approved fraud charges against the former Philippine leader. The maximum penalty for the crime is life imprisonment.

The justice department has been investigating Ms. Arroyo for alleged vote rigging in the 2004 and 2007 polls. She and her husband are also being investigated for alleged corruption involving government contracts.

Ms. Arroyo, the country's second female president who is now a congresswoman, has long been accused of corrupt acts during her time in power from 2001 to 2010. The 64-year-old has denied any wrongdoing.

Ms. Arroyo will be the second former Philippine leader to face trial. Her ousted predecessor, Joseph Estrada, was sentenced to life in prison for corruption, but she later pardoned him.