Philippines ex-president faces new charges

[JURIST] Philippine authorities filed a second criminal complaint against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [BBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive], the former Philippine president who has been under hospital arrest [JURIST report] for previous charges of corruption and electoral fraud. The second complaint alleges that Arroyo approved a $329-million national broadband network deal with the Chinese company ZTE Corporation [corporate website] in return for millions of dollars in kickbacks in 2008. Arroyo abandoned the deal in 2008 as a result of public pressure. Prosecutors also charged Arroyo's husband Jose Miguel Arroyo, the former Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza and former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. on related charges. The former president is accused of violating sections 3 (g) and (i) of the Republic Act 3019 [text], as well as the Republic Act 6713 [text], also known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. Arroyo and her husband reject the accusations.

Arroyo was formally charged last month with corruption and election fraud during her presidency and was arrested the next day on a warrant issued for the charges. Earlier that same week, Arroyo and her husband tried to leave the country after the Philippine Supreme Court allowed them to travel [JURIST report] despite the pending charges, but were denied transit until they received an official copy of the court order. The arrest warrant effectively overrides the court's travel permit. In July 2010, current Philippine president Benigno Aquino [BBC profile] signed an executive order [JURIST report] to set up a "truth commission" to investigate allegations that the outgoing administration engaged in corruption and rights violations.

 

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