Ex-San Juan vice mayor sees acquittal in graft case

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FORMER San Juan City Vice Mayor Francis Zamora believes that he will be cleared from the malversation charges filed against him in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of P2.1 million worth of high-powered firearms in 2008.

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“I am very confident that I will be cleared because I am not an accountable officer. I don’t hold and disburse money,” Zamora, then a member of the city council which approved the ordinance allowing the city government to acquire firearms, said in an interview.

Zamora however maintained that the money was taken from the supplemental budget of the city.

“The calamity fund of the city of San Juan was intact for the year 2008,” he added.

The former vice mayor on Monday pleaded not guilty during his arraignment at the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division. His co-accused, former councilors Angelino Mendoza and Rolando Bernardo, also entered not guilty pleas.

The purchase of the firearms was consummated during the term of then mayor and now Senator Joseph “JV” Victor Ejercito.

According to the Office of the Ombudsman, the city government bought the firearms in haste without competitive bidding and examination of the supplier’s qualifications.

The anti-graft court also found that the dates of the bid documents do not match and it appeared that there was pre-selected winning bidder even before the bidding process started and there was only one bidder.

Zamora said there is nothing wrong in equipping the city police force with firearms.

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