• Ex-TRC head pushes trips, cites survival

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    Former Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General Dennis Cunanan is appealing to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to reconsider and permit him to travel to Japan and the United States, saying his sole source of income depends on it.

    Cunanan, who is facing graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam, failed to get the court’s nod last week to attend several events abroad as World Secretary General of Junior Chamber International (JCI). The events began last Monday.

    “His allowances and/or compensation from the JCI are currently his sole source of income for the upkeep and maintenance of his family,” his lawyers said of the Cunanans (Dennis and his wife and their four children).

    The former TRC chief was earlier reported to be getting “P5,000” a month in allowances from the JCI.

    Since the pork barrel scam broke last year, Cunanan—who was initially on leave from TRC—has gone without pay until his resignation four months ago, his lawyers wrote in his motion for reconsideration.

    They argued that the denial of his motions would mean depriving him of the chance to support his family during the “expectedly difficult times he has to go through” while facing his charges.

    “Verily, if herein Accused-Movant is unable to attend to his duties as Secretary General of JCI, he runs the risk of being compelled to relinquish his position and losing his sole source of support for his family,” Cunanan’s lawyers said.

    Since the supposed JCI events already began on July 7, the defense asked the court to allow the former TRC chief to travel at least from July 15 to 20 to Japan and from July 20 to August 3 to the US.

    The anti-graft court’s Fifth Division junked his separate motions on Friday, ruling that Cunanan is a flight risk.

    But the defense said he is not a flight risk as shown by the totality of his actions before and after the charges were filed before the court.

    Almost every month for the last nine months, according to Cunanan’s lawyers, he secured permission from the Witness Protection Program (WPP) under the Department of Justice (DOJ) to attend JCI activities abroad in his capacity as secretary general.

    The defense noted that Cunanan has always returned on the dates that he had told the DOJ about despite the filing and pendency of the cases.

    Also, it said, the former official even returned earlier than he had committed to the DOJ that he would, citing his presence on short notice at a hearing called by the Senate blue ribbon committee on the pork barrel scam.

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