MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 6th Division is allowing Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito to travel to France from June 27 to July 3 for an inter-parliamentary visit.
In open court, the anti-graft court granted the motion of Ejercito, subject to the submission of his travel authority from the Senate President as well as his itinerary.
In his motion submitted to the court, Ejercito included copies of his invitation from the Senate Office of International Relations and Protocol, his passport and Schengen visa.
Ejercito said he will be having meetings with member of the French Senate, France Southeast Asia Inter-Parliamentary Group and the French Constitutional Council.
Ejercito is facing a technical malversation case at the Sandiganbayan for a firearms purchase deal when he was San Juan City mayor.
In his motion to dismiss the technical malversation case, the senator earlier said there was no diversion, misapplication, or misuse of public funds since the use of calamity funds was authorized by appropriation ordinances. He also pointed out that these ordinances remain valid and subsisting up to today.
He also noted the prosecution's failure to prove that the calamity fund was really used to buy the firearms.
"The question to be addressed in proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt on the part of the accused must only be whether or not the use of the public funds for the firearms subject to this case was supported by an appropriation ordinance validly enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod. Thus, the prosecution cannot impugn the legality of the Ordinances through a collateral challenge in this action to support its claim," Ejercito's motion read.