A LAWYER of Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella said Wednesday his client was able to obtain a travel authority from the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan for his trip to the United States this week.

Atty. Ralp Sarmiento told Sun.Star Bacolod they filed a motion to seek the approval of the Sandiganbayan for the mayor to attend the World Summit for Mayors in New York City from June 8 to 12.

Sarmiento said Puentevella has also been invited to the Philippine Independence Ball Gala Night on June 13 at the Teaneck Marriott in Glenpointe, New Jersey.

The motion was filed last Tuesday and the hearing was held Frida.

“We presented all the documents needed like the authority to travel from the Department of Interior and Local Government, medical certificate, among others. The Sandiganbayan granted the said motion," he said.

The travel order was issued on the afternoon of June 8, and immediately the mayor rebooked his flight and left for the US on that day.

Lawyer Lorney Lyzander Dilag, spokesperson of Puentevella, said there is no truth to reports that the mayor was banned from traveling abroad as he was able to secure an authority to travel from the Sandiganbayan.

“We want to make it clear that the previous denial of the Sandiganbayan on last week of May was not a travel ban for him,” Dilag said.

Dilag said the mayor’s travel to Switzerland was denied due to a pending question of his medical status, that he was not fit to travel abroad due to his condition.

“But it was already cleared, and he (can now) travel abroad,” he added, “Probably all the travels abroad of Mayor Puentevella were granted by the Sandiganbayan for they knew that all his requests were done in good faith.”

The mayor filed for an official trip from June 8 to 12, and he will come back on June 14. Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya has been designated acting city mayor, Dilag said.

Puentevella is facing graft charges for the procurement of alleged overpriced computer packages worth P26 million for public schools in Bacolod, using his Priority Development Assistance Fund when he was still a congressman.