Court upholds acquittal of JV Ejercito, others in technical malversation case

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THE Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division upheld its ruling acquitting Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and several others in the technical malversation case that was filed against them over the alleged anomalous procurement of firearms in 2008 when he was San Juan city mayor.

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The prosecution asked the court to reconsider its decision which granted:

* demurrer to evidence filed by Ejercito, 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, and Joseph Torralba, and;

* demurrer to evidence filed by former city councilors Angelino Mendoza, Rolando Bernardo, and Francisco Zamora.

But the court, citing a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, said in a resolution released on Monday that “[t]he order granting the demurrer to evidence filed by the accused is an adjudication on the merits of the case, and is tantamount to an acquittal.”

The Sixth Division also found “nothing new in the arguments raised by the Prosecution in its motion.”

It thus denied the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed the case before the Sandiganbayan in 2016, alleging that the then-respondents applied the city’s calamity fund for a purpose different from which it was intended when they supposedly authorized and caused the use of the fund to purchase the firearms.

In its decision in August, the court’s Sixth Division found that the prosecution’s evidence “failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt 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.”

 

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