Philippines' Arroyo in intensive care

Arroyo was due for an initial court appearance next week

Former Philippine leader Gloria Arroyo was moved to intensive care on Friday to stop her suffering a possible heart attack, a week after being arrested in hospital on graft charges, authorities said.

The 65-year-old suffered chest pains on Thursday and tests showed her heart was not receiving enough blood due to blocked arteries, said Nona Legaspi, director of the Manila military hospital where Arroyo is being detained.

Legaspi said Arroyo was suffering from ischemia -- a restriction in blood supply to the heart -- which can lead to a cardiac arrest if not treated properly.

"Every condition of the heart should be treated with urgency," Legaspi told reporters, adding that given Arroyo's condition she should not leave hospital for a scheduled court appearance on Monday.

Legaspi said Arroyo could not be detained elsewhere, as government prosecutors want, until doctors ruled she was fit to leave the hospital. "The patient is not dischargeable at this time," she said.

Arroyo was due for an initial court appearance next week on the charge that while in power she plundered about $8.8 million in state lottery funds to finance her election campaigns. She could face life in jail
if found guilty.

Arroyo was arrested on October 4 at the military hospital, where she was being treated for a long-term spinal illness, and has been under police detention there since.

Arroyo ended her near-decade in power in 2010 as one of the country's most unpopular presidents, amid allegations she had cheated to win elections, embraced feared warlords as allies and was involved in
widespread corruption.

Rival Benigno Aquino won a landslide election victory in 2010, largely on a vow to fight corruption and prosecute Arroyo. Arroyo was also charged in another court in November last year with vote fraud for allegedly conspiring to rig the 2007 senatorial elections, and spent most of the following eight months at the same military hospital.

She was granted bail in July, with the court saying the government's case against her was weak.

In December last year Arroyo was also charged with corruption for approving an allegedly graft-tainted contract with a Chinese telecom firm to set up a national government broadband system.

The trials in those cases are expected to last for years.

Arroyo is also a congresswoman after winning a parliamentary seat in the 2010 elections representing her home province, where she remains popular.

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