• Sandigan approves Binay’s Hawaii trip

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    Two divisions of the San–diganbayan have allowed Vice President Jejomar Binay’s wife Elenita to go on vacation to Honolulu, Hawaii from June 7 to 26.

    Mrs. Binay is facing graft charges over the alleged over–priced purchase of P13 million worth of office partitions and furniture for the New Makati City Hall Building after a “rigged” public bidding when she was the city mayor. The Fourth Division handles Criminal Case 0468 and the Fifth Division, 0469 to 0470.

    The prosecution argued that the trip was not a pressing matter and emphasized that the accused does not have absolute right to leave the country.

    Over the prosecution’s ob–jection, both divisions granted Binay’s motion to travel in orders dated May 16, letting her use the unwithdrawn travel bond of P90,000 as travel bond for the Hawaii trip since it was same amount required.

    But the court said that if Binay does not comply with its conditions, her future requests for authority to travel would be denied.

    She is allowed to go only to Hawaii and within the given period only. She must advise the court of her arrival personally and formally in writing and also present to the two divisions her passport and photocopies of its pages bearing stamps of her departure from and arrival in the Philippines.

    If she does not return as promised, trial would still proceed and failure to appear on given settings would be con–sidered as a waiver of her right to be present.

    The court added that any misrepresentation in her request to travel shall be punished as contempt of court, and that any violation of terms and conditions is ground for the forfeiture of her travel bond and the issuance of a warrant of arrest.

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