Sandiganbayan junks malversation raps vs JV Ejercito

By , on August 11, 2017


The Ombudsman said that the money used for the purchase of the firearms came from the city government’s calamity fund, despite the fact that there was no state of calamity at that time. (PNA photo)
The Ombudsman said that the money used for the purchase of the firearms came from the city government’s calamity fund, despite the fact that there was no state of calamity at that time. (PNA photo)

MANILA, Aug. 11— The Sandiganbayan has acquitted Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito in a technical malversation case over the purchase of PHP2.1-million worth of high-powered firearms in 2008 when he was the city mayor of San Juan City.

In its ruling promulgated on Aug. 10, 2017, the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division granted the “demurrers to evidence” of Ejercito and the other accused.

“Let it be stressed that this verdict of acquittal is based on the failure of the prosecution to present proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused indeed used the 2008 Calamity Fund of San Juan City in the procurement and payment of the subject firearms,” the Sandiganbayan ruling said.

In the case information filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, Ejercito allegedly conspired with San Juan City officials for the purchase of high-powered firearms in February to August 2008.

The Ombudsman said that the money used for the purchase of the firearms came from the city government’s calamity fund, despite the fact that there was no state of calamity at that time.

It added that the purchase was done in haste without competitive bidding and examination of the supplier’s qualifications.

The anti-graft court said that the prosecution failed to sufficiently prove that the accused committed the crime as charged.

Aside from Ejercito, also acquitted were his co-accused, namely: Francisco Zamora, former city councilors Angelino Mendoza, Rolando Bernardo, Andoni Carballo, Vincent Pacheco, Dante Santiago, Grace Pardines, Domingo Sese, Francis Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla, Ramon Nakpil and Joseph Christopher.

Ejercito said he is grateful for the decision of Sandiganbayan.

“It’s a very good day. I’m very, very happy. I’d like to thank the Lord for the dismissal of the malversation case filed against me at the Sandiganbayan,” Ejercito said in a TV interview.

Ejercito also said that he had no doubts that he would be cleared of the charge because he knew from the start that he was innocent.

The senator earlier said that he did not regret his decision to purchase firearms for San Juan City when he was the mayor, saying he felt it was his “duty” to do so.

“I do not regret such decision as it was my bounden duty and responsibility to protect the well-being of the city residents,” Ejercito said in an earlier statement.

To recall, Sandiganbayan ordered the suspension of Ejercito and three others for 90 days in connection with the graft case filed against them on the alleged anomalous purchase of firearms in 2008.

Ejercito’s graft case stemmed from the procurement made by the San Juan city government of high-powered rifles in 2008 from the city government’s calamity fund despite the fact that there was no state of calamity at that time.

It added that the purchase was done in haste without competitive bidding and examination of the supplier’s qualifications.

The anti-graft court said that the prosecution failed to sufficiently prove that the accused committed the crime as charged.

Aside from Ejercito, also acquitted were his co-accused, namely: Francisco Zamora, former city councilors Angelino Mendoza, Rolando Bernardo, Andoni Carballo, Vincent Pacheco, Dante Santiago, Grace Pardines, Domingo Sese, Francis Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla, Ramon Nakpil and Joseph Christopher.