Senate yet to implement suspension order vs JV Ejercito | Inquirer News

Senate yet to implement suspension order vs JV Ejercito

/ 11:49 AM September 02, 2016

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito  INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Senate has yet to implement the suspension of Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito as it referred the Sandiganbayan order to the appropriate Senate committee.

In a letter from the Office of the Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III dated Aug. 30, chief of staff Daniel Salomon informed the anti-graft court Fifth Division that the office  received on Aug. 23 the Sandiganbayan’s order to preventively suspend Ejercito from his Senate duties for 90 days as he faces a graft charge over the allegedly anomalous purchase of firearms using calamity funds.


READ: JV Ejercito suspended from Senate for 90 days as he faces graft


But the Senate office has to refer to the Senate rules committee first the suspension order.

“Accordingly, the matter will be referred to the Committee on Rules pursuant to Rule X Section 13 (1) of the Rules of the Senate with the end in view of complying with the August 22, 2016 Resolution of the Court,” the letter read.

Pimentel’s chief of staff added that the Senate has to make sure first that Ejercito has not yet availed of his right to file a motion for reconsideration.

READ: Pimentel: Senate to study suspension order vs JV Ejercito Koko: I don’t have power to implement suspension order vs JV

Meanwhile, San Juan city mayor Guia Gomez also wrote to the Sandiganbayan informing the court that she could no longer suspend Ejercito’s co-accused former budget officer Lorenza Ching because she is no longer connected with the city government.

Gomez also sought a clarification on the suspension of the other two co-accused, city administrator Ranulfo Dacalos and attorney Romualdo Delos Santos, whether or not to implement the order because the 15-day period to file a motion for reconsideration has not yet expired.


Gomez also said the two have filed petitions for certiorari before the Supreme Court.

In a resolution ordering Ejercito’s suspension, the anti-graft court said it approved the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s motion to suspend pendente lite Ejercito and his co-accused Ching, delos Santos, Dacalos, city treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan and engineer Danilo Mercado as they face a graft trial.

“Accused Joseph Victor Ejercito is hereby suspended from his position as senator of the Republic of the Philippines, and from any other public office which he may now or hereafter be holding for a period of 90 days from receipt of this resolution, unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed,” the court said.

BACKSTORY: Prosecution seeks suspension of JV Ejercito over graft rap 

In seeking to suspend Ejercito and the co-accused, the Office of the Special Prosecutor cited Section 13 of Republic Act 3019 which provides that public officials charged with valid information of graft will be preventively suspended from office and will lose his or her benefits at the time of his or her suspension.

Ejercito was charged with graft over the anomalous purchase of high-powered rifles worth P2.1 million using calamity funds when he was San Juan mayor in 2008.

READ: Ejercito ‘no regrets’ buying guns with calamity funds 

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.

In the Sixth Division, Ejercito was also charged with technical malversation with former San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora over the anomalous purchase of the firearms.

The antigraft court Fifth Division is also hearing the plunder case 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 and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

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In 2007, Estrada was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan on jueteng kickbacks. He was later pardoned by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. IDL/rga

TAGS: Graft, Guia Gomez, Sandiganbayan, Senate, suspension

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