By Czarina Nicole Ong
Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon is asking permission from the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division to travel to Singapore and Maldives from April 3 to 10, 2018 in order to attend the Asia Dive Expo 2018.
The said event will be held from April 6 to 8 in Suntec Convention and Exhibition Center in Singapore, Biazon wrote in his urgent motion for authority to travel abroad.
Since Biazon is the principal author of the proposed House Bill to promote and develop the sport of scuba diving in the Philippines, he hopes to attend and acquire knowledge so that they will be able ensure safety to those partaking in the sport as well as promote the Philippines as one of the best diving countries in the world.
Meanwhile, Biazon did not mention the purpose of his Maldives trip, but he did say that he will be on board MV Maldives Princess from April 3 to 7, while he will be staying at Pan Pacific Singapore to attend the expo.
He provided the court with his contact details, and expressed willingness to comply and abide by any conditions the court would choose to impose. “Accused Biazon is not a flight risk and undertakes that he will come back. He has previously travelled and has complied with all the terms and conditions given to him by the honorable court,” he wrote in his motion. “He is the incumbent representative of the Lone District of Muntinlupa, his family are staying here in the Philippines, and he has no reason to abscond.”
Meanwhile, the prosecution opposed his travel motion and stated that there is no urgent or compelling reason for his travel abroad. Based on the invitation, the prosecution said the event will be held only from April 6 to 8 in Singapore.
“There is no official invitation… insofar as to any event for his intended travel to Maldives, prior, or thereafter, the April 6 to 8 event in Singapore,” the opposition read.
At the same time, Biazon failed to substantiate the fact that his attendance in the Asia Expo Dive is necessary and indispensable to the discharge of his duties.
The Seventh Division will hold a hearing on his travel motion on Monday, March 26.
Biazon is facing graft, malversation, and direct bribery charges in relation to the alleged misuse of his P3 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) back in 2007. He reportedly took home P1.9 million worth of public funds after he collaborated with pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles to support her bogus foundation called the Philippine Social Development Foundation (PSDFI).
During his arraignment, Biazon pleaded not guilty to all charges.