THE Sandiganbayan’s Second Division has acquitted Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and several others in the technical malversation case filed against them in connection with the alleged anomalous procurement of firearms in 2008 when he was San Juan city mayor.
Citing “reasonable doubt”, the court granted the respective demurrers to evidence of and acquitted Ejercito.
Also acquitted were:
* former San Juan vice mayor and now City Councilor Leonardo Celles;
* City Councilor Vincent Pacheco;
* former City Councilor and now Public Information Officer Grace Pardines, and;
* former city councilors Andoni Carballo, Dante Santiago, Francis Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla, Joseph Torralba, Angelino Mendoza, Rolando Bernardo, Francisco Zamora, Domingo Sese (deceased), and Ramon Nakpil (deceased).
“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,” it said in part in its 23-page decision.
A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss, which submits the case for judgment based only on the prosecution’s evidence, on the ground that it did not warrant conviction.
If a demurrer to evidence is denied, the defense will have to take its turn to present its evidence.