MANILA- Dismissed Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay invoked his responsibilities as a widower and solo parent to his four children in seeking permission from the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division for his family trip to the United States.
In a motion filed by his lawyer, Binay, who is facing trial for the construction of the allegedly overpriced P2.3-billion Makati City Hall Building 2, said it was his "constitutional and legal responsibility and duty as a solo parent to accompany and travel along with his minor children."
Binay is set to travel with his children to California, New York and Washington from June 8 to 30.
The former mayor told the court that his presence during the trip as a "natural parent" was better than the company that a "foster parent" could give his children.
"Compared to a foster parent, his personal presence during the trip will foster the confidence, love, trust, responsibility and belongingness of his children to the family," Binay's lawyer said in the motion.
Binay also told the court it was the right of his children to be with their parent in their travels.
"It is every minor child's rights, if not solely humanitarian right, to be accompanied by parents in traveling to new places," Binay's lawyer said.
The former Mayor had lost his wife Kennely Ann Lacia-Binay to pregnancy complications in 2009.
Binay assured the court that has "no intention to jump on his bail and evade the law" as he noted that he has yet to withdraw his cash travel bond amounting to P608,000.
After a short hearing on the motion, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice and 3rd Division Chair Amparo Cabotaje-Tang gave the prosecution until Monday to submit their written comment.
Binay is facing three counts of graft and one count of malversation of public funds in connection with the construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building 2 when he was still city mayor.