Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Philippines sets February date for Arroyo arraignment

A Philippine court has ordered ex-president Gloria Arroyo to be arraigned over alleged vote rigging on February 20, with trial dates to be set soon afterwards, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Pasay City Regional Trial Court rejected Arroyo's application to have her arrest warrant revoked and set a date for her arraignment, said court legal researcher Selda Domingo. Arroyo is expected to plead not guilty.
The 64-year-old former leader was arrested in November on charges she led a conspiracy to rig the 2007 elections to favour her senatorial candidates. She is in detention.
Arroyo's arrest came after her successor, President Benigno Aquino, launched a drive to stamp out endemic corruption which he blames for worsening poverty in the archipelago nation.
Domingo told AFP that Pasay court judge Jesus Mupas had denied Arroyo's "motion to recall the warrant of arrest", as evidence put forward on her behalf would be better presented at a trial.
"There is no more reason to unduly delay the proceedings and she is ordered to be arraigned on February 20," she said.
Trial dates for Arroyo, who says she is suffering from a rare spinal illness, would be set soon afterwards, she said.
Arroyo, who was president from 2001 to 2010, has also been charged over a second criminal case involving a telecom deal with a Chinese firm, in which her husband and a key political ally allegedly received kickbacks.
Arroyo denied any wrongdoing over the scandal but she was forced to scrap the telecom deal due to public pressure.

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