JV Ejercito posts bail for graft charge
Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito on Thursday posted his P30,000 bail from graft over the allegedly anomalous purchase of high-powered firearms when he was San Juan mayor.
A check with the Sandiganbayan cashier’s office showed that Ejercito paid his bail in cash around 9 a.m.
As of press time, Ejercito is at the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division clerk of court for the booking procedure.
Ejercito posted bail after the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division issued an arrest warrant against him after it found probable cause to try him for graft.
“After perusing the Information and carefully assessing the resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman, the evidence in support thereof and the records of the preliminary investigation attached thereto, the Court finds that sufficient grounds exist for the finding of probable cause for purpose of issuing warrant of arrest in this case,” the court said in a resolution dated April 4.
Also issued warrants were Ejercito’s co-accused–city administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan, attorney Romualdo delos Santos, budget officer Lorenza Ching and engineer Danilo Mercardo.
Ejercito was charged for graft over the anomalous purchase of high-powered rifles worth P2.1 million using calamity funds when he was San Juan mayor in 2008.
According to the information, Ejercito conspired with other city officials to purchase high-powered firearms in February 2008 using the city’s calamity fund as “investment for disaster preparedness.”
The city council then passed a city ordinance allowing Ejercito to buy the firearms for the city’s police department.
Ejercito approved the purchase even though the city was not under a state of calamity when the purchase was made.
The firearms bought using the city’s calamity fund include: three units of model K2 cal. 5.56mm sub-machine guns and 17 units of Daewoo model K1 cal. 5.56 mm sub-machine guns.
The purchase of the firearms was done with haste without “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,” the prosecutors said.
The Ombudsman cited the joint circular between the Departments of Budget and Management as well as of Interior and Local Government which did not include high-powered firearms among the items needed for disaster relief and mitigation.
Ejercito will serve as senator until 2019.
Ejercito was also charged with technical malversation with San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora over the anomalous purchase of the firearms before the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division.
Zamora and Ejercito’s mother incumbent mayor Guia Gomez will run against each other for San Juan mayor in the coming May 9 polls.
The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has yet to issue the arrest warrant against Ejercito and Zamora.
The antigraft court Fifth Division is also hearing the plunder case of Ejercito’s half brother Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
Jinggoy is Loi Ejercito’s son, while JV is Gomez’s son, with former president Joseph Estrada.
In 2007, now Manila mayor Estrada was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan on jueteng kickbacks. He was later pardoned by then president Gloria Arroyo. CDG
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