THE Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division issued Monday afternoon a warrant of arrest against ousted Laguna Gov. E.R. Ejercito after he was unable to attend his scheduled arraignment on a graft case he is facing.
The anti-graft court also ordered the forfeiture of the P30,000 bail bond that Ejercito had posted for his temporary liberty.
But the court also gave Ejercito’s camp 30 days within which to explain why he was unable to attend the said arraignment.
During the hearing yesterday morning, the defense presented a medical certificate, dated April 18 and signed by attending physician Dr. Maria Fe Alvarez, stating that Ejercito was confined at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center, which is located in Metro Manila’s San Juan City, and was diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia-moderate risk.
The court did not accept the medical certificate, owing to a note written below it that said, “To be used only for school or work purposes. Strictly not for medico-legal purpose.”
The arrest warrant was addressed to the Chiefs of Police of Pagsanjan as well as of San Juan, the Provincial Director of the Laguna Police Provincial Office, the Chief of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation.
These government agencies were ordered to arrest Ejercito and bring him to court.
The graft case stemmed from an allegedly anomalous insurance deal in 2008 while he was the mayor of Pagsanjan town.
In filing the charge before the court, the Office of the Ombudsman alleged that the deal was entered into without the required public bidding.
Likewise named respondents were Crisostomo Vilar, former Pagsanjan vice mayor, and former members of the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council): Arlyn Lazaro-Torres, Terryl Gamit-Talabong, Kalahi Rabago, Erwin Sacluti, and Gener Dimaranan.
Also charged was Marilyn Bruel, who was identified in the charge sheet as the proprietor of First Rapids Care Ventures (FRCV).
On March 31, the Sandiganbayan found probable cause for the case to proceed to trial. REINA TOLENTINO