July 19, 2018, 5:49 am
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Prosecution wants Jinggoy grounded

GOVERNMENT prosecutors have asked the Sandiganbayan to recall the travel permit granted to former Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada last March 26 on the ground the he allegedly made a material misrepresentation in his travel request.

Estrada, out on bail despite a P183.79 million plunder case, is set to leave for the United States with his wife and their four children on April 30. He told the court that while there, he intends to visit friends and relatives.

His motion also mentioned an engagement as a guest speaker in the annual meeting of migrant Filipinos organization US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) that will be held on May 20, 2018 at the Hibachi Buffet in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

An invitation attached to the motion said the former senator is expected to speak on the issues of “extrajudicial killings, Dengvaxia mess, and federalism plan.”

Estrada also said he will take the opportunity to seek medical consultation with Stanford Hospital orthopedic surgeon Christopher Mow to get advise on the recurring pain in his shoulder.

But when reports of Estrada’s travel plans made the news, the USPGG denied sending an invitation to him.

Group president Rodel Rodis and national chairperson Loida Nicolas Lewis also sent a letter to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales saying the person who wrote the invitation was not authorized to do so.

While acknowledging that the letter was written on USPGG’s official stationery, the group said the sender, Tony Antonio, used the signature of USPGG-Michigan president William Dechavez without the latter’s consent. They added that Dechavez was in Sorsogon at the time.

A copy of the USPGG letter to the Ombudsman was also forwarded to the office of Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang.

Prosecutors said the USPGG’s statements constitute a valid ground to recall the resolution granting Estrada leave to travel abroad.

 “(T)hese issues…essentially create the impression that accused Estrada has made a mockery of this Honorable Court and the fact that the allegations in his motion are not fully substantiated, it is respectfully prayed that the Honorable Court hold in abeyance the release of the travel authority,” the prosecution said.

At yesterday’s hearing on the issue, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division instructed Estrada’s lawyers to submit a comment to the prosecution’s motion within three days.
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