Ex-Philippine president Arroyo arrested in hospital | News | DW | 04.10.2012
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Ex-Philippine president Arroyo arrested in hospital

The former Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, has been arrested in hospital on charges of misusing state lottery funds during her last years in office. The offense is punishable with life imprisonment.

The head of the police criminal investigation unit, Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, said the 65-year-old former leader was arrested at a military-run hospital.

Coronel said Arroyo would be temporarily detained at the hospital, where she went earlier in the day suffering from dehydration and numbness of the hand, as her doctors would not allow her to be transferred due to hypertension and dehydration.

The arrest comes after the Philippine anti-graft court issued a warrant against Arroyo on plunder charges for allegedly conspiring to loot nearly 9 million dollars in state lottery funds.

It also comes just a day after she filed her certificate of candidacy to seek re-election for her seat in the House of Representatives in mid-term polls in May.

'Political vendetta'

The arrest warrant was the third to be issued against Arroyo, who spent about eight months in detention in a hospital on a separate election sabotage case before she posted bail in July. In granting her bail, the court said the government's vote-rigging case against her was weak.

She had been arrested in hospital in November last year shortly after immigration authorities at Manila airport blocked her from leaving the country.

Her successor, Benigno Aquino III, said she was trying to flee the country to avoid imminent charges against her. Arroyo said she needed specialist treatment overseas for her spinal condition.

She has accused Aquino of pursuing a political vendetta against her. Aquino has accused Arroyo of graft and vowed to rid the Philippines of corruption.

Raft of corruption charges

Plunder, or the crime of amassing ill-gotten wealth worth at least 50 million pesos ($1.2 million, 927, 858.97 euros), is an offense punishable by life imprisonment in the Philippines. It is also ineligible for bail.

Arroyo and former officials of the state lottery and audit commission are accused of having amassed wealth amounting to 365.99 million pesos from 2008 to 2010.

Arroyo served as president of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010. She was accused of numerous corruption and vote-fraud scandals.

Among other things, she is facing corruption charges over a cancelled deal with a Chinese firm to set up a national internet broadband network, but the trial has yet to start.

tj/sej (AFP, dpa, AP)