Ombudsman finds probable cause to charge JV Ejercito with graft, malversation
The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday found probable cause to charge Sen. JV Ejercito for violating Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Technical Malversation over the allegedly anomalous purchase of high-powered firearms in February 2008 when he was still mayor of San Juan.
The Ombudsman said that in February 2008, Ejercito requested the city council to purchase firearms using calamity fund as an “investment for disaster preparedness.” The city councilors then passed city ordinance No. 9 (series of 2008) authorizing Ejercito to purchase firearms for the San Juan Police Department.
The news came as Ejercito’s half brother, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, is seeking bail in connection with the latter’s supposed involvement in the pork barrel scam.
Ejercito and other San Juan officials named as respondents bought three units of model K2 cal. 5.56mm sub-machine guns and 17 units of Daewoo model K1 cal. 5.56mm sub-machine guns, totalling to P2.1million.
In its resolution, the Ombudsman cited a “hasty procurement of specific high-powered firearms of a particular brand sans competitive bidding and without any post-qualification, bolstered by bid documents bearing dates earlier than the publication of the invitation to bid, showing that an unwarranted benefit, advantage and preference” was accorded to the supplier.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said Ejercito “acted in concert with the members of the city council who authorized him to purchase firearms using the city’s calamity funds paving the way for the application of public funds for a purpose different from the one for which they were originally appropriated by law.”
Other San Juan officials facing technical malversation charges are Vice Mayor Leonardo Celles, councilors Andoni Carballo, Vincent Pacheco, Angelino Mendoza, Dante Santiago, Rolando Bernardo, Grace Pardines, Domingo Sese, Francis Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla, Franciso Zamora, Ramon Nakpi, and Joseph Christopher Torralba.
The Ombudsman also found probable cause to charge for violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 against the members of the Bids and Awards committee, namely city administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan, city attorney Romualdo delos Santos, city budget officer Lorenza Ching, and city engineer Danilo Mercardo.
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