Arroyo pleads not guilty to election fraud

Feb. 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Former Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pleaded not guilty Thursday to allegations of election fraud.

Arroyo is accused of ordering the governor of Maguindanao province to manipulate election results in a 2007 senatorial race to ensure the victory of her party's 12 candidates.

The former president, who has been in poor health, was wearing a neck brace Thursday during her appearance in a Manila courtroom.

It is the first time Arroyo, who faces a variety of corruption allegations, has been arraigned in court. She has been confined to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, where she is being treated for a bone disease, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Her co-defendants, former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan and former election official Lintang Bedol, will be arraigned on March 19. Former Commission on Elections Chairman Bejamin Abalos has been charged separately for the same offense, the newspaper said.

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