MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Tuesday, October 21, decided to allow former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo to travel to Japan and Hong Kong for 9 days.
Arroyo will be in Tokyo from October 25 to 30 and in Hong Kong from October 30 to November 2.
The court barred him from going to “any other place” and traveling beyond the period he had requested.
Arroyo is facing graft charges in connection with the allegedly anomalous sale of second-hand helicopters to the Philippine National Police during the administration of his wife, former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The choppers were allegedly priced as brand new despite being previously owned by the former First Gentleman. A hold departure order (HDO) was issued against him over the graft cases, disallowing him to leave the country.
The court will no longer secure a travel bond from Arroyo and will consider the bond posted in his previous travel – yet to be withdrawn – as the guarantee for his compliance with the court-imposed limitations. (READ: Anti-graft court allows Mike Arroyo to leave PH)
Arroyo’s 3-page motion for leave to travel abroad, which was filed last October 7, did not specify the purpose of his trips.
While typically barred from foreign departure by virtue of an HDO, an accused in a criminal case may be permitted to leave the country if he is not a flight risk.
Arroyo reasoned out before the court that he has “no reason not to return,” as his family and his business interests are in the Philippines.
Earlier, the same court division denied Former Technology Resource Center (TRC) director-general Dennis Cunanan’s move to travel abroad. Cunanan faces graft charges over a much more massive pork barrel scam. – Rappler.com