The Philippine Supreme Court has dismissed an official charge of corruption against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and ordered her immediate release from custody.
Court spokesman Theodore Te announced Tuesday on national television that the justices voted 11-4 to dismiss the charge of plunder, or theft, due to lack of evidence. Arroyo was arrested and charged in 2011 for the alleged misuse of $7.8 million of the country's charity sweepstakes fund. She was earlier charged with electoral fraud.
The 69-year-old Arroyo, who served as president of the Pacific archipelago from 2001 to 2010, remains a popular figure in the Philippines. She was re-elected to Congress in May, despite being under hospital detention for a neck ailment.