Binays seek court nod for spiritual travel to Holy Land

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Binay family who are facing charges in court filed motions to travel to join a clan trip to Israel for a spiritual pilgrimage.

Former vice president Jejomar Binay and former Makati City mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr submitted their motions to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Tuesday, April 11, copies of which were released to media on Wednesday, April 12.

Jejomar and Junjun face charges of graft, malversation of public funds, and falsification of public documents for the alleged overpriced construction of the P2.2-billion Makati City Hall parking building.

The father and son's cases are both with the court's 3rd Division. In their motion, they are seeking the court's permission to allow them "to travel to Israel for a spiritually charged pilgrimage."

The Israel trip is scheduled for May 15 and will last until May 29.

Jejomar and Junjun call it a "faith-filled journey to the Holy Land" which will be led by Salesian priest Father Francis Gustilo, who facilitates the former vice president's "regular Tuesday Bible meetings at the Don Bosco Center in Makati."

Exceptional case?

The elder Binay said in his motion: "It is important to note that movant is almost 75 years old and a family man. Movant believes that this pilgrimage to the Holy Land is an exceptional case for a devout Catholic. Movant respectfully submits also, that the permission to travel from his Honorable Court is likewise in line with the state policy, where the state gives importance to the sanctity of family life and shall protect the same."

According to their motions, former Makati City mayor Elenita Binay will join the trip, along with other Binay children, their grandchildren, and in-laws.

Elenita faces multiple counts of graft for alleged anomalous purchases under her tenure as mayor. The irregularities involve procurements of office fixtures, hospital beds, and sterilizers. (READ: Elenita Binay seeks SC's help in Sandiganbayan cases)

Elenita has not filed her motion to travel yet. The Binay matriarch had just come from Osaka, Japan for a vacation during the first week of April. She presented herself before the court on Monday, April 10, as a requirement for an accused returning from permitted travels abroad. – Rappler.com 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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