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Sandigan OKs Binay's travel to Taiwan, Hong Kong

Former Makati Mayor Dr. Elenita Binay and Vice President Binay. Jonathan Asuncion, File
MANILA, Philippines — The Third Division of anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has granted the request of former Vice President Jejomar Binay Sr. to travel to Taiwan and Hong Kong for nine days amid his pending criminal cases in connection with the alleged anomalous construction of a P2.2-billion Makati parking building.
 
In a minute-resolution dated September 25, released to the media Monday, the Third Division allowed Binay to stay in Taipei, Taiwan from October 9 to 13 and in Hong Kong from October 14 to 17.
 
“Considering that the said accused had already been conditionally arraigned, the Court, over the objection of the prosecution, hereby resolves to grant accused permission to travel abroad,” the resolution read.
 
Binay is facing nine counts of falsification of public documents, four counts of graft and one count of malversation of public funds in connection with the alleged overpriced construction of the P2.2 billion Makati City Hall Building II, also referred as the Makati parking building.
 
 
The Third Division had earlier issued a hold departure order against him to prevent him from leaving the country unless there is a prior permission from the court.
 
In his motion filed on September 20, Binay said he received an invitation from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines to deliver a speech at an economic and foreign relations forum titled “Taiwan's New Southbound Police” to be held from October 11 to 13.
 
Binay said the forum is being organized by the government of the Republic of China with the aim of improving its relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nation member states.
 
Binay said that after the forum, he intends to go on a four-day trip to Hong Kong for his “physical and holistic well-being.”
 
In granting his motion, the Third Division set Binay's travel bond at P752,000.
 
The court, however, clarified that since Binay has not withdrawn the travel bond he earlier deposited to the court during a previous travel to Israel, the same bond would suffice for his new travel request.
 
Binay was also directed to personally appear before the Third Division office of the clerk of court within five days after his return to the country and present the original and photocopy of his passport bearing the stamps of his departure from and return to the Philippines.
 
The Third Division warned Binay that “any material misrepresentation” in his motion “shall be punished as contempt of this Court and shall be dealt with accordingly.”
 
The Third Division further warned Binay that any violation of the terms and conditions set by the court in connection with his travel request shall be a ground for the “forfeiture of his bail and travel bond and the issuance of a warrant for his arrest.”
 
Set to accompany Binay during the trip is his wife Elenita, whose similar motion to travel was earlier granted by the Third Division.
 
 
Mrs. Binay is facing graft and malversation cases before the Third Division over the alleged anomalous purchase of hospital beds and sterilizers for the Ospital ng Makati during her term as Makati mayor in 2001 and 200, respectively.
 
During their stay in Taiwan, the Binay couple will be billeted at the Grand Hyatt Taipei located at Songshou Road, Xinyi District in Taipei City.
 
For their stay in Hong Kong, the Binay couple will be billeted at Marco Polo Gateway Hotel located at Canton Road, Harbor City, Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon.
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