MANILA -- Former senator Jose Jinggoy P. Estrada has sought the approval of the Sandiganbayan for his "long desired family bonding and holiday trip" to Hong Kong from Dec. 26 to 31, 2017.
In a motion for travel filed before the anti-graft court on Tuesday, Estrada asked the permission of the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to allow him to join his family -- his wife Precy and their children Janella, Jolo, Julian, and Jill -- for the six-day vacation.
Estrada, through his defense lawyers, said a trip abroad had long been promised by the former senator to his family after he was allowed by the Sandiganbayan to post bail in his plunder case on Sept. 16, 2017.
"The family trip has long been promised by accused-movant to his family that if allowed by the court all of them will take a holiday trip to a near Asian country -- now Hong Kong, due to ease of securing flight and hotel bookings," the motion said.
"After accused-movant was allowed bail, the family [has] been longing for bonding outside of the country. The Christmas holidays would be the most opportune time to have this," it added.
Estrada said his recent trip to Singapore, where he accompanied his father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Erap Ejercito Estrada, for a medical check-up should be sufficient evidence that he would not evade his case.
Estrada had earlier posted a PHP2.6-million travel bond for the Singapore trip.
He said he is willing to abide by the conditions of the Sandiganbayan for the trip to push through.
He added that the Sandiganbayan would be given a copy of the family's itinerary in Hong Kong once the travel motion is approved.
"Once the court approves the travel requested, the itinerary of the accused will be furnished [to] the court.
Notice is however given that if allowed to travel, he intends to stay at the Marco Polo chain of hotels in Hong Kong," he said.
Estrada is facing plunder and 11 counts of graft for allegedly pocketing PHP183.79 million in kickbacks by allocating his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs) allegedly operated by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
Napoles is the alleged brains behind the PHP10-billion pork barrel and the PHP900-million Malampaya fund scams.
Source: Philippine News Agency