Padaca gets green light to travel to USBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—The Sandiganbayan 5th Division on Tuesday granted the request of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Grace Padaca to go to the US to participate in an International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) program about the US elections.
The conference will be held on November 4 to 7 in Washington D.C., but she sought for a 10-day leave from November 2 to 12. Padaca was designated by the Comelec to attend the event.
Padaca was not allowed to go outside the country due to criminal case filed against her.
The Sandiganbayan allowed her to travel abroad after the Special Prosecutor did not object to her motion saying, “We have no opposition to the motion because it is an official trip.”
But the Special Prosecutor insisted that she be arraigned first as part of the court’s condition.
Padaca agreed to be conditionally arraigned by the Sandiganbayan where she pleaded not guilty to both charges of malversation of public funds and violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
After the arraignment, the anti-graft court also required her to post a travel bond of P140,000, double the amount of her P70,000 bail bond.
The Sandiganbayan issued an arrest warrant after she was accused of giving undue advantage to the Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation Inc. (EDWINLFI), a non-government organization tapped to manage a credit facility for Isabela’s rice farmers under a hybrid seed distribution program.
President Benigno Aquino III posted a P70,000-bail on Padaca’s behalf.