MANILA – The Supreme Court has allowed Bohol governor-elect Arthur Yap, who is facing graft charges, to leave the country on various dates in June to attend a solid waste management program and travel with his family.
In a 4-page resolution dated June 3 but released only on Friday, the high court’s 1st division granted Yap’s urgent motion for leave to travel abroad from June 6 to 16 to attend a solid waste management and desalination program in Belgium and the Netherlands, and from June 22 to 28 for a cruise with his family from Japan to South Korea.
Yap manifested he is not a flight risk given his recent election into public office. He noted that his personal, family and business interests remain in the country.
He also cited his P120,000 travel bond previously posted with the Sandiganbayan which has not been withdrawn.
In granting Yap’s plea, the SC ordered him to deposit a travel bond in the amount of P100,000, execute a special power of attorney designating a personal agent in the country, and notify the court within 24 hours from his return to the Philippines.
Yap, who served as agriculture secretary during the term of former president and outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before his election to the House as Bohol 3rd district representative, is facing 2 graft charges at the Sandiganbayan for his alleged irregular approval of a car loan plan for the board of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) from 2008 to 2009. PhilRice is under the Department of Agriculture.
In March this year, the anti-graft court denied his bid to have the cases against him dismissed. He questioned the ruling before the high court.
The SC on May 3 issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the graft raps against Yap.
He is also facing other charges before the Sandiganbayan.