Sandiganbayan order blocks Mike Arroyo flight
The Sandiganbayan issued him a permit to travel to Japan but he may not leave yet because of another pending graft case

FLYING AGAIN. Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel 'Mike' Arroyo will fly again to Japan to meet with overseas Filipinos from June 16 to 24.

MANILA, Philippines – A Sandiganbayan division gave him a travel permit Wednesday, June 13, but a hold departure order from another division is preventing former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo’s flight to Japan and Hong Kong.

It was the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division, before which he has a pending graft case for the botched NBN-ZTE deal, that allowed Mr Arroyo to travel from June 16 to 23.

Mr Arroyo, however, has another graft case before the Sandiganbayan Second Division.

Last June 8, the Second Division issued a hold departure order against Mr Arroyo in connection with the Philippine National Police’s controversial purchase of second-hand choppers in 2009.

“Under the rules, Mr Arroyo has to file another motion for leave to travel abroad. He also has to be conditionally arraigned before he can be allowed to leave the country,” said Second Division clerk of court Jaime Cabrera.

‘Good track record’

Reacting to the travel permit from the Fourth Division, his lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said Mr Arroyo will stay true to his word and return to the Philippines on June 24 after a travel permit was issued Wednesday, June 13.

In a phone interview with Rappler, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio noted that Mr Arroyo had been permitted to travel earlier this year, and returned on the date specified in Sandiganbayan’s permit. “’Yung track record naman niya, maganda eh,” Topacio said. (He has a good track record.)

Mr Arroyo is scheduled to meet with Filipino groups abroad “in an attempt to help the country” amid a looming energy crisis, according to his lawyer.

Last April, the Sandiganbayan also allowed him to leave the Philippines for Tokyo and Hong Kong. 

Meanwhile, Mrs Arroyo remains detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for an electoral sabotage case. A petition to post bail for this capital offense is now pending before the Pasay Regional Trial Court. (Read: GMA bail hangs in balance.) – with reports from Paterno Esmaquel II/