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Gloria Arroyo, former Philippines president, arrested

Authorities in the Philippines have arrested former president Gloria Arroyo, after vote-tampering charges were filed by the Election Commission.

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In a file picture taken on November 15, 2011, former Philippine President and congresswoman Gloria Arroyo (C) arrives at the Manila International Airport in Manila. (NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was arrested on charges of election fraud Friday.

Arroyo, who was arrested while in her hospital room, is now the second former Philippine leader to face charges, the Associated Press reported.

A court in the Philippines issued an arrest warrant for Arroyo earlier on Friday, after vote-tampering charges were filed by the Election Commission.

The warrant came hours after the Philippine supreme court ruled that Arroyo should be free to travel overseas to seek medical treatment, Al Jazeera reported.

Arroyo, who ruled the Philippines for more than nine years, is accused of cheating to win a seat in the Senate for one of her supporters during the country's 2007 election.

More on GlobalPost: In the Philippines, political dynasties die hard

Arroyo was the Philippines' second female president, and she was elected to the lower house of parliament when her presidential term ended in 2010.

She had attempted to leave the Philippines on Tuesday with her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, but was stopped at Manila airport “because she was still under investigation,” Al Jazeera reported.

Arroyo's lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, says the charges against her are fabricated, and that she needs treatment abroad for a bone ailment.

He accused the government of filing charges against Arroyo with "indecent haste," in an "emerging pattern of persecution."

There has been speculation for months that Arroyo, 64, would be charged with vote fraud or embezzlement, the BBC reported.

Given the charges against her, Arroyo has been put on a list of people who must seek permission to leave the country – something she says infringes her right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

The election fraud charges against Arroyo carry a penalty of 40 years imprisonment.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/philippines/111118/philippines-arrest-warrant-gloria-arroyo