Ombudsman sablay! JV Ejercito acquitted in firearms scandal
The Sandiganbayan has acquitted Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito in a technical malversation case over the purchase of P2.1-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 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 .
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.(PNA)