Sandiganbayan urged: Quiz Senate on JV Ejercito suspension
The prosecution has asked the Sandiganbayan to make Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III explain why the Senate has not suspended Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito for graft.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor filed a motion asking the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to order the Office of the Senate President to explain why the court resolution ordering Ejercito’s suspension had not yet been enforced.
Earlier, Senate President Pimentel, in an Aug. 30 letter, told the court that it had referred the suspension order to the rules committee.
The prosecution said Ejercito filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court on Aug. 30, 2016, but the high tribunal had not issued a writ of preliminary injunction.
The prosecution also noted that the senator did not file a motion for reconsideration.
Subsequently, it pointed out that the suspension against Ejercito and his co-accused Ranulfo Dacalos, and Romualdo De Los Santos issued by the Sandiganbayan on Aug 22 had become final and executory.
“In view of the above, and pursuant to existing laws, it is now imperative that the order of suspension against accused Ejercito, Dacalos and De Los Santos be implemented,” the prosecution said.
The prosecution also asked the Sandiganbayan to have the city of San Juan explain why it had not suspended Dacalos and De Los Santos, who are its employees.
Meanwhile, the suspension of Lorenza Ching could no longer be enforced since she was no longer connected with the city government.
Ejercito was ordered suspended for 90 days as he faced a graft trial over the allegedly anomalous use of calamity funds to buy guns when he was still San Juan mayor in 2008.
The court granted the prosecution’s motion to suspend Ejercito pursuant to Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which provides that public officials charged with a valid information of graft would be preventively suspended from office and would lose his or her benefits at the time of his or her suspension.
Then-Mayor Ejercito was charged with graft for the allegedly anomalous purchase of high-powered rifles worth P2.1 million using calamity funds.
According to the information, Ejercito conspired with other city officials to buy the guns as “investment for disaster preparedness.”
The city council then passed an ordinance allowing Ejercito to buy the guns for the city’s police department.
Ejercito approved the purchase even though the city was not under a state of calamity.
Bought using calamity funds were three K2 cal. 5.56mm sub-machine guns and 17 Daewoo 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.
In the Sixth Division, Ejercito was also charged with technical malversation with former San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora over the anomalous transaction. CBB