Thursday, February 23, 2012

News Update Philippines' Arroyo to face court on fraud charge

MANILA (AFP) - Ex-Philippine president Gloria Arroyo is expected to plead not guilty when she appears in court on Thursday for the first time since being charged with rigging an election.

Arroyo faces life in jail if convicted of conspiring with a feared political warlord to rig the 2007 senatorial elections, but she has denied any wrongdoing and insists her successor, Benigno Aquino, is waging a vendetta against her.

'I have peace of mind because my conscience is clear,' Arroyo, 64, told local television station GMA in her last public comments in December.

Court officials said Arroyo, who was arrested in November shortly after authorities stopped her from trying to leave the Philippines, was required to formally answer the charge against her in person at Thursday's hearing.