By Czarina Nicole Ong
The Sandiganbayan Seventh Division has given Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon the green light to travel to the states of Washington D.C. and Virginia in the United States of America from November 10 to 18, 2018.
In his travel motion, Biazon revealed that the purpose of his travel is to participate in the Counter-Terrorism and Electronic Surveillance Study Tour for Philippine officials as part of his job as the chairman of the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the House committee on public order and safety.
Biazon added that he has been invited by the Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) of the US Department of Justice.
“The goal of the study visit is to support the Philippine efforts to combat terrorism,” the letter from Resident Legal Advisor David A. Bragdon read. “The goal will be to provide some insights into how US laws and practice allow effective terrorism investigations and prosecution.”
The lawmaker will be staying at the Hyatt House in Washington D.C., although he initially intended to stay at the J.W. Marriott in Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C.
He also clarified that all expenses related to this trip will be shouldered by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The anti-graft court allowed him to go, provided that his itinerary covers only Washington D.C. and Virginia. At the same time, his travel bond amounting to P180,000 shall continue with the Sandiganbayan to guarantee his faithful compliance with their terms and conditions.
“Any material misrepresentation made in his Motion to Travel shall be punished as contempt of this Court and shall be dealt with accordingly,” the court warned in its resolution.
Biazon is facing one count each of graft, malversation, and direct bribery 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.