Ex-Philippine president Arroyo arrested in hospital
Manila -- Former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was placed under arrest at a hospital Thursday on plunder charges for allegedly conspiring to loot nearly 9 million dollars in state lottery funds, police said.
Police served the arrest warrant against the 65-year-old former leader at a military-run hospital where she was taken for dehydration and numbness of her hand earlier in the day, said Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, head of the police criminal investigation unit.
Coronel said Arroyo, who is now a member of the House of Representatives, would be temporarily detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Centre after her doctors ruled out her transfer due to hypertension and dehydration.
“As of this time, the former president, Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is under arrest and detention and now in the custody of the Philippine National Police,” he told reporters outside the hospital after serving the warrant.
“She will remain in confinement, undergoing medical treatment," he added. "We leave it up to the discretion of the court whether to issue an order for her transfer or for her continued confinement and detention here.”
The arrest warrant was the third to be issued against Arroyo, who was released on bail in July after spending eight months in detention at the same hospital on electoral fraud charges.
Plunder, or the crime of amassing ill-gotten wealth worth at least 50 million pesos (1.2 million dollars), is an offence ineligible for bail and punishable by life imprisonment.
Arroyo also posted bail in March after the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court ordered her arrest on graft charges for allegedly receiving bribes and illegal commission from an anomalous government contract with a Chinese firm.
The former president was placed under arrest one 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.
Coronel said Arroyo was “lying on the bed with an IV attached to her” when he served the arrest warrant.
“They were very cooperative and the whole process only took 40 minutes,” he said.
The plunder case alleges that Arroyo and former officials of the state lottery and audit commission conspired to amass ill-gotten wealth amounting to 365.99 million pesos (8.82 million dollars) during 2008-10.
Police have launched a search for seven former officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and two former officials of the Commission on Audit that were also included in the case, Coronel said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services