Updated 12:17 PM PHT Tue, October 18, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Sandiganbayan gave indicted Senator JV Ejercito the green light to join President Duterte in his official visit to Japan from October 25 to 27.
In a hearing on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the anti-graft court's Fifth Division granted Ejercito's motion to allow him to travel to Japan, but it required the senator to submit a travel authority from the Senate president, in addition to other supporting documents.
Ejercito says he was invited to explore the possibility of gaining financial support from Japan for the development of a national railway system.
He believes a railway system is the solution to traffic woes in the country.
"As we know Japan has been one of the biggest source of funds through the overseas development assistance so siguro I was invited specifically through the transport crisis," Ejercito told reporters after attending the hearing.
He says he's the only senator invited to join the president in Japan.
"Mahirap naman tanggihan ang pangulo," the senator said.
He added "The Office of the President knows I've been advocating railway system for the longest time."
Ejercito is facing a graft case before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division for allegedly authorizing the misuse of San Juan City's calamity fund for the purchase of high powered firearms in 2008.
He has a separate technical malversation case before the anti-graft court Sixth Division over the same alleged offense.