Protesters hold up placards during a rally against former president Gloria Arroyo outside the Supreme Court in Manila. Image Credit: P

Manila: Police yesterday placed former Philippine President Gloria Arroyo under arrest after they served a warrant from a trial court in connection with an electoral sabotage case filed against her by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The arrest warrant was served to the former president at the St Luke's Medical Centre where she remains confined for a bone ailment.

A senior police official told reporters Arroyo will be detained at the Southern Police District when her condition improves. Guards were posted at the former president's hospital room. Senior Superintendent Tomas Apolinario, chief of the local police, said Arroyo will not be allowed to go anywhere unless permitted by the judge who ordered her arrest.

Arroyo was booked for a flight to Singapore at around 5pm, her spokespeople said earlier in the morning.

The former president and her husband, Miguel Arroyo, were barred from leaving the country on Tuesday night despite a Supreme Court (SC) order prohibiting the Bureau of Immigration from enforcing a watchlist order against the former first couple.


The Supreme Court convened a special en banc session yesterday morning to hear a motion filed by government prosecutors who sought a reversal of its earlier decision.

Emerging from the deliberation, SC spokesperson Midas Marquez said: "The TRO [temporary restraining order] stays in full force and effect... The motion for reconsideration filed by the solicitor general is denied by a vote of 8-5."

The high court also ordered Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to explain why she should not be held in contempt of court for "refusal to comply with the TRO and for disrespect towards the Supreme Court."

As the SC justices met, the Comelec filed an electoral sabotage case against Gloria Arroyo before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court.

According to a Philippine Star report, the filing of the case came only a few hours after the Comelec en banc voted 5-2, adopting the resolution of a joint DOJ-Comelec panel, which recommends the filing of the electoral sabotage case against the former president. Electoral sabotage is a non-bailable offence under Philippine laws. If convicted, Arroyo could face life imprisonment.

The recommendation were based on the complaint filed before the DOJ by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and affidavits of several witnesses to the alleged massive cheating during the 2007 mid-term elections.

The case was immediately raffled off to Judge Jesus Mupas of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112, who then issued an arrest warrant against Arroyo after reading the complaint.

Asked if the filing of the case against Arroyo was railroaded, Justice Secretary De Lima said: "Nothing personal here."

Arroyo's camp meanwhile, decried the "unprecedented" process, likening the day's events to a "bullet train" ride.