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Court enters not guilty plea on behalf of Arroyo

EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL A Philippine court entered a not guilty plea for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on a plunder charge on Monday (October 29), a litmus test of the government's ability to tackle entrenched corruption in the poor Southeast Asian nation. Arroyo, 65, who ruled the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, sat silently in a pink dress and shawl beside her family and lawyer during the arraignment hearing while charges that she had misused state lottery funds from 2008 to 2010 were read to the court. The court entered the not guilty plea on her behalf after she and her lawyer did not respond to the charge. She could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if she is convicted. Arroyo arrived in court in a wheelchair and neck brace and smiled for photographers. She had two spinal operations two years ago. Prosecutors accuse Arroyo and nine officials from the state lottery agency of misusing around 366 million pesos ($8.88 million) in sweepstakes funds, alleging that they transferred the money to an intelligence fund for her use. One of Arroyo's lawyers said they did not recognise the graft court's jurisdiction over the case, and called it "plain political persecution".

© DailyMotion -

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