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Binay seeks court permission for European pilgrimage tour

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday asked the anti-graft court to allow him to travel abroad for his upcoming pilgrimage trip in Europe.

In his motion filed at the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, Binay sought permission from the anti-graft court to travel to Italy where he will visit religious sites from September 27 to October.

“There is necessity for movant to travel to Italy for his spiritual endeavors. It is very important to note that movant is a devout Catholic who places great important to his spiritual health,” the motion read.

Included in his travel itinerary are his tours in Rome, Assissi, Padova, Venice, Turin and Florence.

Binay assured members of the anti-graft court that his upcoming religious retreat overseas will not affect the ongoing court proceedings for his multiple graft charges in connection with the irregularities in the alleged overprice construction Makati City Hall Parking Building and the Makati Science High School Building when he was still the mayor of the country’s financial business district.

Meanwhile, state prosecutors objected to Binay’s motion since his upcoming trip is not an “urgent necessity” aside from “spiritual considerations.”

“It must be stressed that an accused must be available at times that his presence is required in court. Hence, courts may validly restrict and accused’s right to travel in order for him to be dealt with pursuant to law,” the prosecution said in its objection.