Philippines court orders arrest of former president

[JURIST] An anti-graft court in the Philippines on Thursday ordered the arrest of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in a corruption case alleging the misuse of state lottery funds. This is the third corruption case pending against Arroyo, who made bail in July [JURIST report] after eight months of detention in an army hospital. This most recent case against Arroyo accuses her of misusing over $8 million in state lottery funds while in office. Other corruption cases accuse her of election fraud and accepting bribes. Arroyo has maintained her innocence in all cases, suggesting the charges are politically motivated. Lawyers for Arroyo told the court on Thursday that the newest charges were unsupported [AP report] and that the government's witnesses do not have first-hand knowledge of the events. The court has agreed to review the charges.

Former president Arroyo has been a target of anti-corruption efforts by President Benigno Aquino [BBC profile]. Arroyo was arrested [JURIST report] in November on fraud and corruption charges in the hospital before she was able to leave the country to seek medical treatment. In April Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to corruption charges before a special anti-graft court in the Philippines. The non-guilty plea came a month after a Philippines court issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] against Jose on bribery charges. He was accused of accepting bribes to support the $329-million national broadband network deal with ZTE Corporation. Arroyo faced the same charges in December when the country's authorities filed a second criminal complaint [JURIST report] against her alleging that she approved a $329-million national broadband network deal with the Chinese company in return for millions of dollars in kickbacks in 2008.

 

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