MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has acquitted Senator JV Ejercito of technical malversation charge in connection with the anomalous P2.1-million deal he signed when he was still mayor of San Juan City in 2008.
Ejercito earlier faced charges of malversation filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in May for using the calamity fund in the purchase of high-powered firearms for the city. A hold-departure order was also issued against the lawmaker.
But on Friday, the anti-graft court’s 6th Division cleared Ejercito of the malversation charge, arguing that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
“After a careful assessment of the documentary and testimonial evidence of the prosecution, the Court finds that the said evidence failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the fund used in the procurement and payment of the subject high-powered firearms or part thereof was sourced from the San Juan City 2008 Calamity Fund,” the Sandiganbayan said in a 23-page resolution.
Reacting to the court’s favorable decision, Ejercito said in a statement the recent development has reaffirmed his faith in the country’s judicial system.
“I thank the good justices of the Sandiganbayan for remaining true to their duty of upholding justice and fairness. At the moment, I am just grateful that my name has been cleared and redeemed from charges,” the lawmaker said.
Also acquitted by the Sandiganbayan are former vice mayor Francisco Zamora, city councilors Leonardo Celles and Vincent Rainier Pacheco, public information officer Grace Pardines, and former councilors Andoni Miguel Carballo, Vincent Rainer Pacheco, Dante Santiago, Francis Keith Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla and Joseph Christopher Torralba.