Philippines charges ex-president Arroyo`s husband
Manila: Prosecutors filed corruption charges on Wednesday against the former president`s husband and more than a dozen others over the sale of two used helicopters to the country`s police force that he allegedly owned and passed off as new.
The charges against Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, retired national police chief Jesus Verzosa and a dozen other police officers are part of President Benigno Aquino III`s anti-corruption campaign.
This follows the ouster last week of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who Aquino has described as an obstacle in the campaign.
The former president`s husband has denied taking part in any fraud, and says he never owned the helicopters, as investigators have alleged.
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has been charged with electoral fraud and detained in a government hospital, also has long denied any corruption and says she and her husband are being persecuted.
The couple also are being tried on corruption charges related to an overpriced government contract with Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp for a USD 330 million national broadband project that was later scuttled because of the scandal. They pleaded not guilty during arraignment in April.
Arroyo`s husband said he was not surprised about the latest graft case against him, his spokesman said. "I was half-expecting it to be filed, because they are really persecuting us," lawyer Ferdinand Topacio quoted him as saying.
In 2009, Philippine police purchased what they thought were three new Robinsons R44 Raven 1 helicopters for 105 million pesos (USD 2.4 million), but two were later discovered to have already been used.
Police investigators last year accused Arroyo`s husband and the others of "acting in concert and taking undue advantage of their official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich themselves."
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