NEWSFLASH

JAILED MJ CAN'T POST BAIL IN MIAMI

MANILA, January 7, 2003 (STAR) Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez, who is facing illegal election campaign contribution, mail fraud and tax evasion charges in the United States, is still in a Miami, Florida jail.

"His brothers and children are still attending to the bail requirements set by Judge Thedoro Bandstra," Bulacan Rep. Willie Buyson Villarama told reporters yesterday.

Villarama and Agusan del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. have just returned from the US. Last Dec. 26, they accompanied Jimenez on his return flight to Florida but were separated from him in Guam, their first stop.

Jimenez was flown by his Federal Bureau of Investigation escorts led by James Nixon, resident FBI representative in Manila, to nearby Saipan, where he was brought to a US district court that refused to recognize him because he was not facing charges there. The court ordered that he be flown to Miami.

Villarama said Bandstra wants that the $500,000 (about P26.5 million) bail he set for Jimenez be shouldered by the Manila congressmanís relatives.

"MJ (Jimenez) has at least three brothers and three children in the US. The judge wants them to guarantee that MJ wonít flee. Thatís why the requirement is for them to take care of the bail and the collateral to support it," he said.

He added that Jimenez could be free "in a day or two" and restricted to the area of south Florida.

Villarama and Pichay reiterated their appeal for the House to seek clarification on procedures that should be followed in extradition cases and in cases where an extraditable person like Jimenez volunteers to return to the country that seeks him. Ė Jess Diaz


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