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Former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is free to seek re-election in next year's elections, a Malacañang official said Thursday.
“Wala naman hong restrictions, walang prohibitions so she has all the right to run if she wants to. This is a free country,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters at a press briefing. Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code states that persons disqualified to run and hold any office are those who have been “declared by competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude” unless the person has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty.
Earlier, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez raised the possibility of Mrs. Arroyo running for re-election. Mrs. Arroyo represents the second legislative district of Pampanga. The former Philippine leader is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. She is charged with electoral sabotage before the Pasay City regional trial court.
Mrs. Arroyo is also facing two counts of graft and a charge for violation of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees before the Sandiganbayan.
She was accused of entering into a transaction that was grossly disadvantageous to the country’s interest, of having interest in the negotiation with hopes for personal gain and accepting favors from the Chinese contractor when she was treated to a round of golf and a lunch.
The NBN-ZTE deal involved allegations of corruption in the awarding of a contract to the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE for the proposed government-managed National Broadband Network (NBN).
The contract with ZTE was signed on April 20, 2007 in Hainan, China. After accusations of irregularities surfaced, Mrs. Arroyo canceled the project in October 2007. — RSJ, GMA News