MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections voted 5-2 to charge former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with electoral sabotage but decided to let her husband Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo off the hook for “insufficiency of evidence.”
Voting “yes” were Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and Commissioners Rene Sarmiento, Armando Velasco, Christian Robert Lim and Augusto Lagman.
Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Armando Lagman voted “no,” saying that they needed time to study the 33-page resolution of the panel of the Department of Justice-Comelec panel that looked into the purported poll fraud in 2007.
In a separate interview with Agence France-Presse, the commission’s spokesman James Jimenez said that the maximum penalty for the crime was life imprisonment.
The body said Arroyo, who was president between 2001 and 2010, was accused of ordering the wide-scale tampering of official returns in the 2007 senatorial elections that cheated an opposition candidate out of victory.
Arroyo, who says she needs medical treatment abroad, was stopped from boarding a flight at Manila airport on Tuesday despite a Supreme Court ruling that she was free to travel.
The government said it wanted to stop Arroyo from fleeing prosecution.
With a report from AFP
Originally posted: 10:26 am | Friday, November 18th, 2011