One judge OKs Abalos trip; he needs to convince other judge

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Former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos was finally allowed by the Pasay Regional Trial Court handling some of his electoral sabotage cases to fly to Taiwan.

In a resolution, Judge Jesus Mupas of Pasay Regional Trial Court Branch 112 on Monay reversed his earlier decision denying Abalos’ request to travel to Taiwan and lifted the hold-departure order against the former Comelec chief.

Mupas said Abalos would be free to travel to Taiwan from Nov. 27 to 30  to meet with prospective suppliers of bangus fry for his aquaculture business once he  has posted a cash bond of P100,000 for each of the two counts of election sabotage against him.

Mupas said Abalos should report to the court within five days of returning from Taiwan.

The Sandiganbayan, which is hearing his graft and corruption case stemming from the botched NBN-ZTE deal, had earlier granted his motion to travel upon the posting of a bond.

However, Abalos still cannot travel to Taiwan in the absence of a go-signal from another judge.

Judge Eugenio de la Cruz of Pasay RTC Branch 117, who is handling separate  electoral sabotage charges against Abalos,  still has to decide on the latter’s bid to travel abroad.

Abalos is facing two counts of electoral sabotage in Branch 112 for alleged irregularities in the results of the 2007 senatorial elections in North Cotabato. In Branch 117, he is facing 12 counts of electoral sabotage for alleged cheating in South Cotabato.

In a phone interview, Abalos said that while he was happy with  Judge Mupas’ favorable

ruling, he could not go anywhere yet because Judge De la Cruz had yet to resolve his separate motion to travel.

“You cannot compel a court to (act on a motion immediately). I will have to wait for a favorable resolution (on the motion to leave  from Branch 117),” Abalos explained.

Abalos said he would definitely ask for a rescheduling of his trip to Taiwan to the third or fourth week of January should De la Cruz act favorably on his request.

This, according to him, would also give the Department of Foreign Affairs time to revalidate his passport.

He said he could not leave in December since this was the holiday season.

He reiterated that he was not a flight risk, saying he voluntarily surrendered when he learned about the arrest warrant issued by the courts.

The 77-year-old Abalos was detained for eight months at the Southern Police District headquarters.  He was granted temporary liberty by the courts handling his case. They cited the weak evidence against him and his failing health.

In his Nov. 5 resolution, Judge Mupas doubted the urgency for Abalos to go abroad for his aquaculture business and rejected his request to travel. Abalos then filed a motion for reconsideration.

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  • kismaytami

    Allowed na rin pala ngayon ang mga international business transaction as excuse for a suspect to be out of jail. Only in the Philippines.

    • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      Actually, wala din bail ang plunder.

      EXCEPT kung mahina ang ebidensya.  which he got.

      pag naka bail, more often naka HDO ka, lalo na kung plunder ang case mo.

      EXCEPT kung manina ang ebidensya. which he got we he filed motion for reconsideration.

  • Etep Xena

    Hmmmm, delikading yan, baka me kakutsabang Tsekwa para takasan ang kaso niya sa Pinas.Pnoy huwag mong payagan.’ Maliit na isda’ lang ang dahilan e bilyon-bilyon ang halaga ng kinasasangkutang kaso.

  • Barak_O

    judge may 200 taiwan dollar$$$ ka dito

  • Kenji

    Bangus is our national food fish, it is indigenous to us.  Taiwan never had those until they smuggled bangus fries or fingerlings from us… they now export them and even found a home in the US military commissaries around the world!  So, I am confused, are we saying we don’t have bangus fries anymore that we have to go to Taiwan?

    If you don’t notice, the trend is alarming – rattan furniture from Taiwan and Indonesia, nata de coco and patis from Thailand,  coconut milk and ginataang langka from Malaysia, etc.  Even noni that is abundant in the Visayas are passed out as from Tahiti or Fiji!

    I forgot to mention, bangus fries were banned for export or shipped out of the country during those days.  When will we ever learn…

  • Love God

    There is more fun in our justice system.

    There is more money in too.

    A man facing plunder going to Taiwan to buy fish??

    Medical ground to travel abroad for GMA was denied. But our court agree to fish purchase.

    Man, i smell rotten fish… (If you have money, u can buy justice, and fish too)

    • popeyee

      Plunder ba o election sabotage ang kaso niya na hawak ng pasay court?

  • junhernan

    Sobra naman ang pamilya ni Abalos. Bakit kailangan pa na ang MATANDA ang magbiyahe para bumili lang ng bangus? Wala bang anak na puede?.

    Judge Mupas, paano kung walang international business to attend to ang isang nakakulong, ibig bang sabihin hindi siya puedeng magbakasyon? Ang LAGAY ba, palakasan na lang?

    • popeyee

      Si abalos is on a temporary liberty, di po siya nakakulong sa mga oras na ito…

  • Allan

    In his Nov. 5 resolution, Judge Mupas doubted the urgency for Abalos to go abroad for his aquaculture business and rejected his request to travel. Abalos then filed a motion for reconsideration.

    and he was allowed to travel after filing a motion to reconsider? how much???

    punta si abalos sa taiwan dahil hindi sya tiwala sa mga kamag-anak pagdating sa pera. he stashed his loot in taiwan and on the promise of getting a certain % as commission, the commissioners in the courts allowed benjamin to travel.

    where is the philippines going? to the dogs!!!

  • Batz61

    Kahit ka may pera, at nag-bail ka, hindi yan dapat basta payagan lang mag-biyahe abroad. Feeling important, feeling deserving. Meron kang criminal charge ,,,hindi excuse yung kasi meron kang negosyo. Problema mo yan. Meron kang kasalanang charge sa bayan, hwag mong ipilit ang gusto mo lang.

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