Ex-Philippine President Arrested for Plunder

Posted October 4th, 2012 at 9:25 am (UTC-5)
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Philippine police have descended on a Manila hospital, and placed former president Gloria Arroyo under arrest for plunder.

The onetime Philippine leader is already on trial for fraud and corruption.

Mrs. Arroyo suffers from a long-term spinal illness. Police said she will be detained at the hospital, where she was also being treated for dehydration.

Prosecutors with the country's anti-graft court allege Mrs. Arroyo stole almost $9 million in lottery funds and used the money to help finance political campaigns.

Outside the hospital, supporters rallied behind the former president, some chanting “Free Gloria.”

One supporter, Gian Acidre, accused the current government of trying to make Mrs. Arroy a scapegoat.

“GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) is a good person. She did what she had to do during her administration, and did what was right while following the law. But right now she's being blamed and ridiculed because of their (Aquino government's) shortcomings.''

If convicted of plunder, Mrs. Arroyo faces life in prison.

One of Mrs. Arroyo's lawyers told the French news agency she was “distraught” upon learning she was about to be arrested for a third time.

The now 65-year-old Arroyo has accused her successor, President Benigno Acquino, of pursuing her as part of a political vendetta.

Nine other officials, some with the country's lottery agency, have also been charged with plunder.