By: Elena Grace Flores
With regards to former Makati mayor Junjun Binay’s requesting the Sandiganbayan to allow him to travel to the United States to bring his six-year-old daughter for “urgent medical consultation,” it really did went through the eye of the needle with the tough scrutiny thrown against it – despite being a human right because of circumstance.
The date of travel requested is from August 14 to 26 following his daughter’s pediatrician who recommended that they see allergologist and immunologist Dr. Ricardo Tan in the US for a second opinion regarding her staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, described as a “very uncommon disease.”
Binay’s legal team cited the Department of Justice Circular No. 41, allowing the accused in a case to leave the country for such exceptional cases. “It is very important to note that as the only surviving parent of Ken-ken, Accused believes this is an exceptional case, a humanitarian act to be exact, falling under the above-mentioned department circular. This is a time where he must be a father to his ailing daughter,” his lawyers said.
Binay’s legal team assured the court that he has no intention to evade the law or violate his bail by going abroad. “As a matter of fact, he (Binay) wants to protect and defend himself during the proceedings of his Honorable Court,” his lawyers said.
State prosecutors, from the beginning opposed the former mayor’s request, saying that his camp failed to show his presence at his daughter’s consultation to be “absolutely necessary and urgent.”
The Sandiganbayan on August 5, also said that the medical condition of Binay’s daughter, despite being rare or uncommon, “was not shown to be requiring special treatment which could only be done abroad due to lack of medical experts or inadequacy of medical equipment and facilities in the Philippines.”
It was only during Binay’s conditional arraignment last Monday, that prosecutors asked his legal team why he only considered bringing his daughter abroad for a medical consultation -considering that her pediatrician already made a diagnosis about her condition long before in 2013.
Atty. Francis Paul Baclay, responsed that the recommendation of Binay’s daughter’s doctor was only made recently based on “recent observations” and added that a second opinion is also “long overdue,” Baclay said.