Ex-president under arrest at Philippine hospital, security tight

Breaking News November 19, 2011 00:00

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Manila - Security was tight Saturday at a hospital in the Philippine capital where former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been placed under arrest on charges of electoral fraud.

Some 30 police officers were deployed at the entrances and exits of the St Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City since late Friday when the arrest warrant was served to Arroyo.

Two officers were also assigned to guard the former president's room at the private hospital.

Police Senior Superintendent James Bucayu said the Authorities allowed Arroyo to stay under "hospital arrest" due to weak health.

Bucayu said police would take Arroyo's mugshots and fingerprints at her hospital room "when she's ready" on Saturday.

Arroyo, who is now a member of Congress, has been wearing a neck and body brace since August after doctors failed to fix a pinched nerve causing her extreme pain when she moves.

She also suffers from high blood pressure, hypoparathyroidism and bone mineral disorder, according to her doctors.

On Friday, the Commission on Elections filed charges of electoral sabotage against Arroyo and the Pasay Regional Trial Court in Manila immediately ordered her arrest.

The case alleges that Arroyo and her allies manipulated the results of the 2007 congressional elections to favour candidates of her administration.

The senator who allegedly benefited from fraud resigned in August and was replaced by an opposition politician whose votes had been allegedly shaved in 2007.

Arroyo spokesman Raul Lambino said the former president was saddened by the arrest warrant and denies the charges.

"She told me, well what can we do? This is the way the government would like to treat us. So we will face the judges," Lambino said.

Friday's arrest culminated a tense week in Philippine politics that saw Arroyo and her husband trying but failing to leave the country to seek medical treatment abroad.

The Department of Justice blocked the couple's attempts to go abroad despite a Supreme Court order allowing them to travel, due to fears they would not return to face charges against them.//DPA


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