• Puentevella appeals denial of travel plea

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    Former Bacolod City Representative and now Mayor Monico Puentevella is appealing the ruling of the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division which denied his request for permission to travel abroad.

    Puentevella asked the anti-graft court to reconsider, set aside its ruling and to issue a new one giving him permission to travel to Zurich, Switzerland from May 26 to June 1 and to New York, USA from June 6 to 17.

    “Through a letter dated May 22, 2015, the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] informed accused Puentevella that his request for authority to travel to Switzerland to attend the 65th FIFA Congress has been approved by the Department,” the defense said in an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Reconsideration filed on Tuesday morning.

    FIFA is the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, a Zurich-based international governing body of football. The 65th FIFA Congress will be held on May 28 to 29.

    Puentevella is also physically fit and able to travel abroad and his attendance is “imperative and necessary” for the country to be represented in the FIFA Congress, the defense further argued.

    In persuading the court to grant the appeal, the defense said that Puentevella is “privileged of having the distinction of being the first and only Filipino” to become a member of FIFA, which will also hold the election of a new presiden.

    Puentevella also sought permission to travel to New York to attend a summit.

    He is facing a graft case in connection with the purchase of information technology Packages at P400,000 each, totaling P26 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), from Merryland Publishing Corporation without calling for a public bidding that allegedly resulted in the purchase of overpriced IT packages.

    His co-accused, Jessie Garcia who was the President and Chairman of the Board of the publishing firm, entered a not-guilty plea on May 14.

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