Feb. 23 - Philippines former President Gloria Arroyo pleads not guilty to vote rigging in 2007 elections in the south in favour of her allies. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The Philippines former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo arrives at court to face charges of election fraud. She turned up to the court in Manila on Thursday surrounded by tight security. Arroyo, accompanied by her husband, was wearing a neck brace because of a spinal injury. She's accused of vote rigging in 2007 election in the south in favour of her allies. Arroyo, who was president for nine years until 2010, denies the charge. Her lawyer says he's confident she'll be cleared when the case comes to trial. SOUNDBITE: Ferdinand Topacio, Arroyo's lawyer, saying (Filipino/English): "Mrs Arroyo personally stood and pleaded not guilty. We're very hopeful. This arraignment is the first step towards acquittal so that this case will move forward." Outside the court supporters with placards and banners protested Arroyo's innocence. Pre-trial hearings are due to start in April. Inquiries are still underway over further allegations of fraud involving the 2004 presidential election and corruption within her administration. Paul Chapman, Reuters