MANILA - Sitting up in bed wearing a hospital gown and a neck brace, ex-president Gloria Arroyo had her mug shot and fingerprints taken Saturday, a day after her arrest for rigging Philippine elections, police said.
The ailing 64-year-old faces a possible life sentence if convicted, after a tumultuous week in which the government went head-to-head with the Supreme Court to stop her leaving the country.
Frail and suffering from high blood pressure, Arroyo sat up in her hospital bed as police technicians took frontal and profile photographs of her and took her finger and palm prints, said Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, the leader of the team.
"The president was wearing her neck brace at the time the photographs and her finger prints were being taken," he later told reporters outside the hospital.
He said Arroyo would remain under police guard at her hospital room until the lower court in Manila that had ordered her arrest said otherwise.
She was arrested in the same hospital room Friday after the government filed charges that she ordered 2007 senatorial elections rigged to ensure her allies won, alleging she conspired with a feared warlord to tamper with the vote.
The arrest was the culmination of a campaign by President Benigno Aquino to hold Arroyo to account for alleged corruption, but her lawyers said Saturday she would continue a legal battle to invalidate the charges against her.
Lawyer Raul Lambino said the lower court would hear a motion on Monday to lift the arrest warrant on the grounds that the criminal suit should have been filed elsewhere.
"We feel that there has been a violation of due process when they railroaded this case and filed the information at a wrong court," he told ABS-CBN television.
"The court should not have issued a warrant of arrest."
The Arroyo camp said the case should be dealt with by a special court, called Sandiganbayan, which handles cases involving public officials.
A second Arroyo lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said she would also ask the Supreme Court on Monday to declare illegal the work of an investigative body which gathered the evidence for the criminal charge against her.
A spokesman for Aquino said that he would not object to Arroyo staying in hospital rather than going to jail if her lawyers sought a court ruling to that effect.
"If they do that, we will not object," spokesman Ricky Carandang told reporters on the Indonesian island of Bali, where Aquino was attending the East Asia Summit.
Arroyo arrived at Manila airport on Tuesday, in a wheelchair and looking frail, saying she was seeking to travel overseas for medical treatment after the Supreme Court overturned a government travel ban on her.
The Supreme Court ruled she should be allowed to travel because she had not yet been charged with any crimes.
But in a high-stakes political standoff, the government defied the Supreme Court and ordered immigration authorities to stop her from leaving the country, while racing to file charges against her.
The government alleged she could be trying to flee prosecution.
Arroyo, the country's second female president, would also be its second leader to stand trial. Her predecessor Joseph Estrada was convicted of plunder in 2007 but pardoned by Arroyo 40 days later.
Estrada, who lost to Aquino in his fresh bid for the presidency in last year's elections, suggested to ABS-CBN in an interview that Arroyo had it coming to her and should stay home to face the charges.
"She's being punished by karma," he said.