• Ex-TRC chief appeals denial of travel plea

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    Former Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General Dennis Cunanan has asked the Sandiganbayan to reconsider its denial of his plea to travel abroad.

    Cunanan, who is facing graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam, asked the anti-graft court to allow him to go to the United States from December 29 to January 20 to allow him to discharge his duties as Junior Chamber International (JCI) Secretary General.

    The First and Fifth Divisions, which are handling the cases against Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, gave him permission.

    However, the Third Division, which handles the plunder complaint filed against Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, denied his request for lack of merit. The court said there is no urgency of his intended trip.

    It also pointed out that Cunanan is facing charges before the First and Fifth Divisions and said, “The Court is of the view that the above circumstances constitute strong and compelling reasons for accused-movant not to return to the country if allowed to travel abroad.”

    In his appeal, Cunanan maintained that he is not a flight risk and argued that the prosecution team handling the case has the burden to prove that he will flee once allowed to travel.

    He also maintained that he was able to show the necessity of his intended trip, saying it was not only for his personal interest but also that of JCI.

    The court had ruled that while he has personal interest to protect in reporting to the JCI headquarters in the USA, this personal interest “cannot override the Court’s inherent power to preserve and to maintain the effectiveness of its jurisdiction over these cases and over the person of the accused.”

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