Ex-VP Binay, son seek court permit to go on Israel pilgrimage
Former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr. and his son Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr, who both face malversation, graft and falsification charges over the alleged Makati car park building overprice, asked permission from the court to go on a pilgrimage in Israel this May.
The two filed similar travel motions before the Sandiganbayan Third Division seeking the court’s nod to attend a “spiritually charged pilgrimage” in Israel from May 15 to May 29. The court earlier issued a hold departure order against them.
The said pilgrimage would be led by Father Francis Gustilo, the Pilgrimage Chaplain and former Father Provincial of the Salesian Fathers in the Philippines.
Father Gustilo is also the spiritual facilitator of the Binays’ regular Tuesday Bible meetings at Don Bosco Center in Makati.
Binay Sr. would be joined by his son Junjun, his wife Dr. Elenita Binay, his other children, grandchildren, and in-laws “in the faith-filled journey to the Holy Land.”
In his travel motion, Binay Sr. said he is almost 75 years old and a family man who “believes this pilgrimage to the Holy Land is an exceptional case for a devout Catholic.”
“Movant respectfully submits also, that the permission to travel from this Honorable Court is likewise in line with the state policy, where the state gives importance to the sanctity of family life and shall protect the same,” Binay Sr. said through his lawyers.
The accused also maintained that the Binay family’s pilgrimage would “not affect the progress of the instant cases,” which are subject to motions for re-raffle.
The court earlier dismissed Binay Sr.’s motion for a re-raffle of the case. The said resolution is under appeal.
The Binays also said they have no intention to flee their charges.
Three Binays are charged before the Sandiganbayan with graft and malversation charges over alleged anomalies when they served in turns as Makati mayor.
Binay Sr. was formally charged after he stepped down from his post, and after his defeat in the 2016 presidential elections.
Binay Sr. and Binay Jr. are co-accused in the graft, malversation and falsification of public documents charges in connection with the anomalous construction of the P2.2 billion Makati car park building.
While Binay Sr. was charged for allegedly rigging the first three phases of the building when he was Makati mayor, Binay Jr. was charged for phases IV and V of the building when he succeeded his father in the city hall.
Binay Sr. served as Makati mayor from 1988 to 1998 and 2001 to 2010. He was elected vice president in 2010. Binay Jr. was Makati mayor in 2010 until he was dismissed from service in 2015 due to the charges.
Binay Sr.’s daughters Abby is now Makati mayor while Nancy is senator.
Binay Sr.’s wife Elenita, who served as mayor from 1998 to 2001, faces graft and malversation raps over alleged irregularities in the procurement of hospital beds worth P36.43 million in 2001 and P8.83 million worth of dry heat sterilizers in 2000 for the Ospital ng Makati.
She secured victory in her two graft cases.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division granted Dr. Binay’s demurrer to evidence in her P21.7-million graft case over the alleged overpricing of furniture for the city hall in 2000.
Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division acquitted her of graft in the alleged overprice of P13.25-million purchase of furniture for the city hall in 1999. IDL
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