THE Sandiganbayan yesterday denied the request of Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito be allowed to join President Rodrigo Duterte in his trip to Malaysia and Thailand.
The Sixth Division questioned Ejercito’s claim that he is part of the Philippine delegation to the President’s state visit when he is suspended as a senator in connection with the graft charges filed against him.
In his motion to travel, Ejercito stated that he is part of Duterte’s official delegation for the trips, which are scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada, who chairs the Sixth Division, questioned how Ejercito could be part of the official delegation for Duterte’s trips when he is currently suspended as a senator.
“How could you be part of the official delegation when you are under preventive suspension?” Ponferrada said.
The Anti-Graft Court suggested Ejercito to file an amended motion, stating he would be flying to Malaysia and Thailand in his personal capacity if he really wanted to join Duterte’s trip.
Ejercito is facing graft and malversation cases due to the anomalous procurement of firearms, amounting to P2.1 million during his term as mayor of San Juan City in 2008.
The Sixth Division handles the malversation while the Fifth Division is trying the graft case.
The Sixth Division’s denial of motion to travel will also means that the suspended senator cannot leave the country even if the other court allowed him to proceed.
Last Friday, Ejercito said he will serve the 90-day suspension ordered by the Sandiganbayan to show respect and obedience to the Court.
Ejercito will start serving today his 90-day suspension order.