Cunanan pleads not guilty in 'conditional arraignment'

MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of his co-accused before the anti-graft court's 3rd division, former Technology Resource Center director general Dennis Cunanan pleaded not guilty in his two counts of graft with Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile as co-accused.

Cunanan went through "conditional arraignment" on Wednesday, July 2, as the court submitted for resolution his motion for leave to travel abroad

The conditional arraignment was held without prejudice to his pending motion. It will be treated as a regular arraignment should his charge sheet remain as is, but will not be in effect if there are amendments to the information.

Of the divisions handling pork scam cases in the Sandiganbayan, the 3rd division is the only one that has yet to issue a finding of probable cause against its set of accused.

Cunanan was already arraigned and likewise pleaded "not guilty" before the 1st and 5th divisions with Senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada as principal accused, respectively.

Arguing that his duties as World Secretary General of Junior Chambers International require him to be in Japan and the US on different dates, Cunanan moved to be allowed to leave the country.

He asked the court to allow him to travel to Japan on July 7 to July 15, and to the US on July 20 to August 3. The court is set to resolve his bid to travel abroad.

TRC is one of the state firms that allegedly cornered millions in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the 3 indicted lawmakers. Funds were diverted to ghost projects of dubious non-governmental organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. Cunanan is accused of helping expedite the illegal disbursements through TRC.

Still under the Witness Protection Program of the Department of Justice, Cunanan's application for state witness was junked by the Ombudsman.

Cunanan has filed a motion to review the denial of his application. – Rappler.com