De Lima won’t block Estrada’s US trip-A A +A
Monday, October 28, 2013
SENATOR Jinggoy Estrada is free to travel to the United States amid the request of Department of Justice to cancel his passport for facing plunder charges over the alleged pork barrel scam.
“There being no action yet on our request for passport cancellation, I see no impediment for Senator Jinggoy's announced trip especially so that it is accompanied by a publicly declared undertaking to return,” said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in a text message.
Estrada was scheduled to accompany his wife, Precy, in seeking a second opinion in the coming weeks after a family oncologist discovered a lump in her breast, which may be a sign of cancer or cyst.
He promised to face his cases as he saw no reason for the DOJ to ask the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel his passport, along with Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile and 34 others.
"We are not convicted yet and not even the Ombudsman has given her recommendation. I don't see the point of issuing this cancellation of passport. I will not hide," said Estrada.
Estrada’s opinion was shared by Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, who hit de Lima for the premature request. Romualdez is Revilla's partymate in the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).
"That's not the case here. The NBI's (National Bureau of Investigation) findings are clear and convincing enough," said de Lima.
De Lima cited the Constitution and the Passport Act of 1996, which authorizes the Foreign Affairs Secretary to issue, deny, restrict or cancel the passports and other travel documents of individuals in the interest of national security, public safety and public health.
She feared that insurgents may destabilize the government if it will not be able to bring the individuals who allegedly pocketed pork barrel funds to justice. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)