A Philippines court on Tuesday issued an arrest order for the husband of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], Jose Miguel Arroyo, on bribery charges. He was accused of accepting bribes to support the $329-million national broadband network deal with the Chinese company ZTE Corporation [corporate website] in order to get it approved and was indicted [JURIST report] in December. Arroyo claims that the charges are wrong because his wife, after initially approving, abandoned the deal in 2008. His wife faces the same charge and more including corruption and electoral fraud. In addition to the couple, the prosecution also charged the former Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza and former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr.
In February, former president Arroyo pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the electoral fraud charges. She and her husband tried to leave the country after the Philippines Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order [JURIST report] allowing the travel outside of the country after which the Philippine authorities formally charged [JURIST report] the former president. In December, after the initial criminal complaint for charges of corruption and electoral fraud, Philippine authorities filed a second one [JURIST report] alleging bribery in the approval of multi-million deal with the Chinese company.