The Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division has suspended for 90 days two San Juan City councilors and the city public information officer facing technical malversation charges along with Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of high-powered firearms in 2008 when he was mayor.
Suspended were councilors Leonardo Celles and Vincent Rainier Pacheco and Grace Pardines.
The prosecution also asked the court to suspend Ejercito but the tribunal said the former mayor was already suspended for graft charges.
“With that suspension pendente lite, the Court is not inclined to suspend pendente lite accused Ejercito in this case. For to do so would make this Court adopt a ruling that an accused charged under several informations or counts should be suspended for a period of ninety (90) days for every information, and cause the suspension of the accused for a period of more than ninety (90) days for a single act committed by him,” the court explained.
Associate Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada, who leads the court’s Sixth Division, penned the ruling which was concurred in by Associate Justices Oscar Herrera Jr. and Karl Miranda.
The Office of the Ombudsman claimed that the respondents approved the use of the city’s calamity fund to buy firearms worth P2.1 million.