Philippines' Gloria Arroyo speaks out on fraud charge

Former Philippine president Gloria Arroyo inside her suite at an exclusive Manila hospital on 9 December 2011
Image caption Gloria Arroyo has been moved from an upmarket hospital suite to a government facility

Former Philippine President Gloria Arroyo says she has faith that the courts will clear her name, in her first public comments since being arrested on vote-fraud charges.

She told local broadcaster GMA TV that the government was "employing demagoguery" against her.

Mrs Arroyo was arrested last month accused of rigging a 2007 election.

She denies the charge and has been trying to leave the country for specialist medical treatment.

The government has barred her from leaving though, and the two sides are now locked in an intense legal and political struggle.

"I have peace of mind because my conscience is clear. The current administration is employing demagoguery to ruin me," Mrs Arroyo told GMA.

"I believe in the rule of law. I think I did my best. I have great faith in God."

Mrs Arroyo, president from 2001 to 2010, also told the broadcaster that she was recovering well from a rare bone disease that had already required three operations this year.

She showed GMA scars from the operations and said there was no guarantee of avoiding a relapse.

She was arrested in hospital, where she has been for several weeks.

On Friday, she left the upmarket hospital she had been staying in and was transferred to a court-approved state hospital.

Politics in the Philippines is notorious for corruption, vote-rigging and long-running bitter rivalries between clans and families.

Mrs Arroyo, herself the daughter of a former president, has been surrounded by corruption allegations for years, and survived several attempts to have her impeached while in office.

Her predecessor Joseph Estrada was jailed for corruption, and former authoritarian leader Ferdinand Marcos amassed a vast fortune by embezzling public money.

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