FORMER Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada was allowed by the Sandiganbayan to leave the country for a short break.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division granted Estrada’s motion to travel to Hong Kong after Christmas Day despite objections from the government prosecutors.
With a pending plunder case, Estrada asked the anti-graft court to allow him for a vacation in Hong Kong with his family from December 26 to 31.
The former senator is facing a P183 million plunder charge and multiple counts of graft on allegations of conspiracy with his former staff Pauline Labayen, businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, and several other individuals in defrauding the government by supposedly funneling his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” allocations into bogus livelihood and agricultural assistance projects.
While plunder is a capital offense, Estrada was allowed to post bail by the anti-graft court based on a finding that the evidence presented by the prosecution failed to identify him as the main plunderer or the principal beneficiary in the questioned transactions.
Meanwhile, Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo is also seeking permission to leave the country to spend the rest of the holidays with his family in Hong Kong from December 27 to January 2, 2019.
Attached to Floriendo’s motion is the ravel authority issued by the Office of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on December 10.
Floirendo is facing graft charges at the Sandiganbayan over his alleged financial interest in the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between Tagum Agricultural Development Authority (TADECO), where his family is a major stockholder, and its subsidiary Anflo Management and Investment Corporation, for the lease of land in the Davao Penal Colony to be used as a banana plantation.