30 Oct 2012

Arroyo in court again

3:54 pm on 30 October 2012

Former Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has appeared in court on charges of misusing state lottery charity funds while in office.

The court recorded a ''not guilty'' plea on her behalf after she refused to enter a plea.

Earlier in October an arrest warrant was issued for Mrs Arroyo, who is accused of diverting $US8.8 million.

She arrived in court in a neck brace and wheelchair from a military hospital where she has been confined.

Mrs Arroyo has a spine-related ailment. She was admitted to the hospital for dehydration before the arrest warrant was served.

The BBC reports this is the third corruption case against Mrs Arroyo who faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if found guilty.

She was detained earlier this year on a separate election fraud charge but released on bail in July.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said he was optimistic that the current charges could be dropped.

Mrs Arroyo already faces charges over electoral fraud in connection with polls in 2007, as well as corruption over an aborted broadband deal with a Chinese company. She has denied these charges.

Mrs Arroyo was president of the Philippines from 2001 - 2010. She was first arrested in November 2011 when she tried to leave the country to seek medical treatment for her ailment.