MANILA – State prosecutors yesterday asked the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division to reject former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay’s petition to be allowed to travel to Tokyo, Japan for a vacation.
Mrs. Binay, wife of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay is currently facing graft charges before three divisions in the Sandiganbayan.
The Fifth division, handling several counts of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019) has granted her request to go on the trip.
Binay was charged for the alleged overpriced purchase of more than P107 million in office furnishings. All of the said purchases were allegedly made without public bidding or through rigged bidding.
Meanwhile, the Fourth Division, also handling the same case, is yet to make a decision on the petition.
Mrs. Binay is also facing two counts of graft and two counts of malversation before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division for the supposed overpriced purchase of hospital equipment worth P40 million in 2000 and 2001, without public bidding.
Prosecutors said in their opposition to Binay’s petition that the “Philippines, her country, also our country, undoubtedly has recognized world-class places where one can spend a vacation.”
“It must be emphasized, lest overlooked, that the right to travel of an accused is not absolute as it is subject to the usual restraints imposed by the necessity of safeguarding the system of justice,” the state prosecutors said.
They also added that “allowing the movant (Mrs. Binay) to leave the jurisdiction of the Philippines will render nugatory the orders and processes of the Court, since the jurisdiction of the court cannot extend beyond that of the Philippines.”