Rep. Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon of Muntinlupa City is asking the Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division to allow him to travel abroad from July 7 to 20.
Biazon – who is out on bail — is facing graft, malversation, and direct bribery charges before the anti-graft court in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
In an urgent motion filed earlier this week, his camp said that “[b]eing a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as the duly elected representative of the lone District of Muntinlupa, accused would want to be informed and be educated on the salient and security features of the ePassport System to enable him to actively participate and protect the concerns and interests of his constituents” in the committee’s deliberations on proposals to amend the 1996 Passport Law.
The said House committee “will travel to Switzerland and Italy to visit the Passport Processing and Production site of Technical Components of the ePassport System upon the invitation of OVD Kinegram AG (Zurich) and the Centro Grafico DG (Milan) and afterwhich, will visit the Consular Sections of the Philippine Embassies to observe the implementation process of passport system abroad for the periods July 7 – 16, 2017,” according to the motion.
Biazon asked the court to let him stay for three more days to visit scenic places in Switzerland together with his wife. No government funds will be spent for the official travel from July 7 to 16 while he will shoulder the expenses for the July 17 to 20 travel, the motion stated.
“Accused Biazon is not a flight risk and undertakes that he will come back. He is the incumbent representative of the Lone District of Muntinlupa, his family are staying here in the Philippines and he has no reason to abscond,” his counsels argued.
They added that Biazon is willing to post a travel bond in the amount that the court may require and abide by any condition that the court may impose should it grant his travel plea.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed charges last year against Biazon and several others, alleging that he indorsed the non-government organization (NGO) Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. as project partner in implementing a livelihood project for barangays in Muntinlupa City funded by his PDAF worth P3 million in 2007. The project allegedly turned out to be non-existent.
Biazon has categorically denied having received any alleged kickbacks as a result of the transactions entered into by any government agency with NGOs that were supposedly ran by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Private individuals Napoles and Evelyn De Leon; former Energy Regulatory Commission Chairperson Zenaida Ducut; former Technology Resource Center Director General Antonio Ortiz; former TRC Deputy Director General Dennis Cunanan, and; former TRC employees Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, Francisco Figura, Marivic Jover, and Maurine Dimaranan were also named as respondents in the graft and malversation cases.
Biazon was named sole respondent in the direct bribery case.