• Cunanan cannot leave the country on bail


    The prosecution has opposed a travel plea of former Technology Resource Center (TRC) chief Dennis Cunanan, arguing that a person released on bail must always make himself available to the court.

    Cunanan earlier lost his immunity bid and is facing four counts of graft before the Sandiganbayan’s First Division in connection with the pork barrel scam.

    “Bail is the security given for the release of a person in custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to guarantee his appearance before any court,” the prosecution said, citing rules of court.

    Noting that Cunanan currently enjoys provisional liberty pursuant to his bail bond, it added, “It goes without saying, therefore, that he undertook to make himself available to this [court]at all times. Such undertaking necessarily requires him to be within the Philippines to ensure that any time this [court]requires his presence, accused-movant can immediately present himself.”

    Cunanan’s travel to Japan and the US, the prosecution said, would thus be a defiance of such an undertaking. The accused being covered by the Witness Protection Program, it added, requires him to secure first the permission of the Department of Justice in connection with his travel plea.

    The defense said its client intends to return and also be back for the next hearing on August 7, the pre-trial.

    Cunanan faces two counts of graft before the Third Division and one in the Fifth Division.

    The prosecution echoed the argument that Cunanan is a flight risk, saying they have sufficient evidence to prove his participation in the charges and, therefore, “he is aware of the possibility of conviction.”

    The Ombudsman’s denial of his application to be a state witness gives him more reasons to flee the country, it said.

    Cunanan is asking the Ombudsman to reconsider its denial of his immunity bid, but the mere filing of a motion for reconsideration is no guarantee that it will be granted, according to the prosecution.

    His means to support his family comes from his allowances from the Junior Chamber International (JCI), the defense told the court.

    When asked by the court, Cunanan said he gets P5,000 a month in allowances.
    Cunanan, secretary general of the private organization JCI, is asking the court to let him travel to Japan and the United States for JCI events that would be held there.

    Associate Justice Rafael Lagos questioned the defense’s claim in their plea that Cunanan’s presence there was “indispensable.”

    The defense replied to the court, when asked, that three people will deliver welcome remarks in the United States leg.

    “What is indispensable there?” Lagos asked, when two others can deliver the remarks.

    The prosecution argued in its comment/opposition that there is no indication that the events will not push through without Cunanan, noting that other officials of the JCI could take his place.

    On Wednesday, he was conditionally arraigned at the Third Division after which his motion was submitted for resolution. Before the court can act on any pleading, a petitioner has to come under its jurisdiction through an arraignment.

    Usually, arraignments come after the determination of probable cause. The Third Division is yet to resolve the issue of whether there is probable cause to issue arrest warrants for Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and his co-accused.

    The Third and Fifth divisions are set to resolve Cunanan’s travel plea today.


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