Former Philippine president Arroyo arrested

Updated: 2011-11-19 15:40


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MANILA - Former Philippine president and now congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was arrested on Friday evening on the charge of election sabotage.

Senior superintendent of the Southern Police District James Bucayo said the arrest warrant was served to Arroyo in her room at St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City, Metro Manila, where she has been under the police custody.

"When we served the warrant of arrest, she (Arroyo) just came from a sleep," Bucayo told reporters, adding the former president apparently expected the warrant of arrest.

Bucayo said Arroyo's formal booking, such as finger printing, will be conducted in the hospital on Saturday.

Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas issued warrant of arrest against Arroyo, former Maguindano Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former election supervisor Lintang Bedol for alleged electoral sabotage in 2007 national elections.

The Commission on Elections filed the formal complaint before the court Friday morning and the warrant of arrest was issued several hours later.

With the arrest warrant, Arroyo, who planned to go abroad for medical treatment, could no longer leave the country.

"Mrs. Arroyo is compelled to stay in the country, and face the charges of electoral sabotage filed against her, bringing us closer to uncovering the truth behind the controversies surrounding the 2007 elections," Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told a news briefing.

"Rest assured that throughout the judicial process, the government will exercise fairness and impartiality, and will uphold every right that Mrs. Arroyo, as an accused, is entitled to under the constitution," she added.

The Bureau of Immigration has barred the Arroyo couple from leaving the country despite the supreme court lifted the government ban.

President Benigno Aquino III, who was in Bali, Indonesia attending the 19th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, was already informed of the development, de Lima said, adding Aquino asked her to treat Arroyo with "utmost respect."

De Lima said the government would not oppose any move by the Arroyo camp if she would seek for house or hospital arrest.