MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 5th Division on Tuesday allowed former Senator Jinggoy Estrada to spend the holidays with his family in Hong Kong from December 26 to 31.
In its decision, the anti-graft court granted Estrada's motion for leave, noting the constitutional right of the accused to travel, "which cannot be impaired except in cases provided for by law."
In his request, Estrada, who is on trial for alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, said he wishes to travel to "have more time to relax" with his family. Last year, the court also allowed him to do the same.
The anti-graft court also noted in its order that the P2.66-million bail which Estrada posted last year “shall continue to guarantee his faithful compliance with the conditions imposed herein.”
Estrada is accused of pocketing P183 million in kickbacks from fake projects, purportedly with help from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, in the so-called "pork barrel" scam.
The former lawmaker, who has been out on bail since September 2017, is currently seeking a Senate comeback, along with his friend, former Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla.
Revilla, who was also accused of pocketing public funds in the scam, was earlier cleared of plunder by the Sandiganbayan.
Estrada said Revilla's acquittal boosted his hopes of receiving the same ruling from the court. He also believes the acquittal of his friend boosts their chances of winning in the 2019 polls.
Aside from Estrada, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who was also accused of pocketing millions in discretionary funds through the PDAF scam, is also out on bail. Enrile is also seeking a Senate comeback.
--report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News