Manila: A Philippine court issued an arrest warrant on Friday for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on electoral fraud charges as part a high-profile tug of war to prevent any chance of her turning fugitive.
   
Arroyo denies any wrongdoing and accuses the government of violating her rights by stopping her from leaving the Philippines for foreign medical treatment for a bone ailment.

Her lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said the government had filed charges with "indecent haste" in what he called an "emerging pattern of persecution."
   
The Supreme Court earlier on Friday upheld her right to travel, but a lower court, where the formal charges were filed, later issued a warrant of arrest that effectively bars her from leaving.
   
Arroyo was recovering in the hospital since her failed attempt to leave the country on Tuesday, and it was doubtful she would be immediately hauled to jail given her medical condition.
   
"The order for the warrant of arrest has been given to law enforcers," said clerk of court Joel Pelicano. "The lawyers have all legal options. Hospital arrest is possible. The arresting officers will look at her health if that is needed."
   
In a drama that has galvanised the Philippines, Arroyo, sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a head and neck brace, was turned back Tuesday night from boarding a flight out of Manila. Authorities said she was still under investigation and might become a fugitive.
   
Her successor and staunch critic, President Benigno Aquino III, was overwhelmingly elected on promises to rid the Philippines of corruption and has said he wants to start with Arroyo.
   
The former president sought help from the Supreme Court, which issued a temporary clearance for her to travel and again reaffirmed it on Friday. But the government ignored it, saying national interest and uncovering the truth was more important than an individual's right to travel.

(Agencies)