Prosecutors have opposed a motion by Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo’s , husband of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, asking to be allowed to travel to Japan and Hong Kong, saying he is a flight risk.
“The prosecution had presented more than sufficient proof to convict accused of the charge. Allowing accused to leave the country can give him the opportunity to evade the imminent judgement of conviction,” the prosecution said in an opposition paper submitted to the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division on Thursday and made available to the media on Friday.
Arroyo is facing graft charges at the Fourth Division over his alleged involvement in the anomalous $329-million national broadband with China-based ZTE Corp. in 2007.
In a motion last week, Arroyo, who is out on bail, asked the court for permission to travel to Japan and Hong Kong on June 16 to 26.
Arroyo said he intends to fetch his two granddaughters from Japan as their parents, Juan Miguel and Angela Arroyo, are unable to do so.
Arroyo assured the court that he will return to the country as proven by his previous travels abroad and since “he has no plans of leaving his wife”, Rep. Macapagal-Arroyo, who is currently under hospital arrest for plunder charges in connection with the alleged misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence funds while president.
But the prosecution said the court it will be difficult for the anti-graft court to run after Arroyo once he is out of the country.
“To allow accused-movant to leave the jurisdiction of the Philippines will render nugatory the orders and processes of the Court since the jurisdiction of the court cannot extend beyond that of the Philippines,” the prosecution said.
The prosecution pointed out that though Arroyo is currently on bail, his right to travel is not absolute as it is still subject to the usual restraints “imposed by the necessity of safeguarding the system of justice”.
The prosecution also questioned why Arroyo did not submit any document to show his journey will be limited to Osaka and Tokyo in Japan, and Hong Kong.
“If indeed, he really intends to go to these places, he would have reserved tickets for such journey and he would have made hotel reservations for this purpose,” the prosecution pointed out.
“Besides, accused-movant’s travel is purely for leisure which ground is not meritorious enough for the court to put an imprimatur on such travel,” the prosecution added.
Arroyo is also facing graft charges with the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of overpriced helicopters by the Philippine National Police in 2009.