Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap has appealed to the Sandiganbayan to allow him to travel to Vietnam and Europe in the next two months for an official function.
In an urgent motion dated Feb. 15, Yap said his six-day trip to Hanoi, from March 4 to 9, was in response to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s invitation for a parliamentary field visit.
He said the IMF will be in charge of his flight and accommodation, and attached a copy of the IMF’s letter-invitation in his motion.
Yap also said his travel to Europe from March 23 to April 10 of this year will be “a combination of a family vacation and a meeting with government officials of the Netherlands and Belgium.”
The Bohol representative is a co-accused in the case of former Misamis Occidental Rep. Marina Clarete, owing to her alleged misuse of pork barrel funds amounting to P65 million from 2007 to 2009.
Yap is facing two counts of graft and one count each of malversation and malversation through falsification of public documents.
The lawmaker is also a co-accused of former Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino over the alleged misuse of P14.55 million in Priority Development Assistance Funds.
In seeking the approval of the court for his travel, Yap assured the anti-graft court of his return to the country.
“As the incumbent representative of the 3rd District of Bohol, he is committed to fulfill his mandate to his constituents. Moreover, his personal, family and business interests are here in the country. Hence, it would be very difficult or unimaginable for him to start a new life abroad, especially as a fugitive,” Yap’s motion read.
“Accused Yap assures this honorable court that he will return as scheduled. He has no qualms facing the charges against him, knowing that he is innocent of them,” the motion said.
“It bears stressing that he never attempted to flee the country despite the numerous cases filed against him before this honorable court and the Office of the Ombudsman,” it added.