Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

11 April 2012. Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband have pleaded on Wednesday (11 April 2012) not guilty to corruption charges related to an overpriced deal with a Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp in connection with a $US330 million ($A322.88 million) government contract. Last year she was arrested on a separate charge of electoral fraud.

A former elections chief, Benjamin Abalos, also pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, accepted bribes to push through the contract with the knowledge of his wife. She subsequently cancelled the deal under pressure from the public.

President Benigno Aquino III made  election promise to route out corruption in The Philippines.  Soon after President Aquino came to power, the Philippine ombudsman investigated and filed charges against the former first couple at the anti-graft court.  Arroyo cannot be bailed out but her husband is on bail.

Arroyos blame Aquino of pursuing a political vendetta while Aquino accuses Arroyos of corruption.

The ZTE case along with territorial tensions over disputed islands in the South China Sea tested the Philippines’ relations with China.

Here is a YouTube video.