From philstar.com: (By Elizabeth Marcelo)
MANILA, Philippines — Muntinlupa City Rep. Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon has asked permission of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to allow him to leave the country next month to join his fellow congressmen in an official visit to Italy and Switzerland.
In his four-page motion filed before the court’s Seventh Division, Biazon through his lawyer, said he and the members of the House of Representative committee on foreign affairs are set to visit the electronic passport production sites in Milan, Italy and in Zurich, Switzerland from July 7 to July 16.
Biazon said the members of the House panel are also set to visit the consular sections of the Philippine Embassies in Milan and Zurich to observe the implementation process of the e-passport system.
Biazon said their scheduled visit is in relation to the House committee’s deliberation on pending bills that seek to extend the validity of Philippine passport to ten years from the current five years.
“Being a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as the duly elected representative of the lone district of Muntinlupa, accused would want to be informed and be educated on the salient and security features of the ePassport System to enable him to actively participate and protect the concerns and interest of his constituents during deliberations…as regards the amendments to the 1996 Passport Law,” Biazon’s motion read.
After the official visit, Biazon said he wishes to extend his trip for another three days or until July 20 for a personal tour with his wife in the scenic places of Switzerland.”
Biazon assured the court that “no government funds will be spent for the official travel” while expenses for he and his wife’s personal tour will be shouldered by him.
Biazon also maintained that he is not a flight risk.
“He is incumbent representative of the Lone District of Muntinlupa, his family are staying here in the Philippines and he has no reason to abscond,” Biazon said in his motion.
It was in May 2016 when the Seventh Division issued a hold departure order against Biazon to prevent him from leaving the country unless there is a prior written approval from the court.
The HDO was issued in connection with his cases of graft, malversation of public funds and direct bribery over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.
Biazon is accused of allocating P3 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel in 2007 to one of the fake foundations linked with the alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in exchange for P1.950 million worth of kickbacks.