JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday admitted that the Department of Justice (DOJ) can not stop Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada from going to the United States even if she has sought the cancellation of his passport.
De Lima said that while it is true that she asked for the cancellation of Estrada’s passport to make sure that he faces charges and possible trial for plunder over the pork barrel fund scam, there is no legal impediment to the latter’s flight.
“There being no action yet by the Department of Foreign Affairs on our request for passport cancellation, I see no impediment for Senator Jinggoy’s announced trip,” de Lima said.
She admitted that Estrada called her up on Friday to seek permission to go to the US. She said the senator promised to come back since he will only be accompanying his wife Precy who wanted to seek a second opinion on the cysts in her breast.
De Lima has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel the passports of Estrada and Senators Ramon Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile and 34 others in connection with the criminal cases involving the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Two of the pork respondents—Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, Enrile’s former chief of staff, and Ruby Chan Tuason—have left the country.