SENATOR Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito on Thursday posted P30,000 bail before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division a day after the anti-graft court issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of firearms while he was the mayor of San Juan City Metro Manila).
Ejercito at the same time accused the Zamora family of being behind the revival of the graft case, which was filed eight year ago at the Office of the Ombudsman by an anonymous complainant.
“Walang ng iba, mga Zamoras, [no other than the Zamoras],” he said when asked who he thinks was behind the sudden revival of the case.
The case involves the allegedly anomalous P2.1-million purchase of high-powered firearms in 2008 when he was still mayor of San Juan City.
Aside from Ejercito, five other city officials were charged and were ordered arrested by the Sandiganbayan on Wednesday.
Ejercito’s mother, San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, is running for reelection against Vice Mayor Francis Zamora, son of former Executive Secretary and San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, who used to be an ally of the Estrada family.
The senator also wondered why the Ombudsman acted on a complaint by an “anonymous” complainant several years after it was filed.
He said the Ombudsman did not even bother to consider their arguments that would clearly show that there was no technical malversation.
The senator maintained that he would not tarnish the integrity of his name for the P2.1-million transaction, that he said underwent the legal process.
Named respondents along with Ejercito were former City Administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, who was also then-chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee, and former BAC members, namely, former City Treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan, former City Legal Officer Romualdo delos Santos, former City Budget Officer Lorenza Ching and former City Engineer Danilo Mercado.
Dacalos, Marasigan, delos Santos, Ching and Mercado also posted P30,000 bail each for their provisional liberty.
The Ombudsman accused the respondents of procuring and paying for the firearms in the amount of P2.1 million “without the required competitive public bidding, post-qualification, and legal appropriation…”
Aside from the graft case, the Ombudsman also filed a technical malversation case last week against Ejercito and 14 others.
In this case, which was designated to the court’s Sixth Division, the respondents have pending motions asking the court to dismiss the charge for lack of probable cause.
Ejercito’s camp also asked the court’s Sixth Division to defer issuance of arrest warrants pending resolution of their motion.
The 14 respondents include former San Juan Vice Mayor Leonardo Celles as well as former members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) members Andoni Carballo, Vincent Pacheco, Angelino Mendoza, Dante Santiago, Rolando Bernardo, Grace Pardines, Domingo Sese, Francis Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla, Francisco Zamora, Ramon Nakpil and Joseph Torralba.
The Ombudsman alleged that the respondents authorized and caused the use of the city’s calamity fund to buy the firearms, “thereby applying said public fund for a purpose different from which such fund was intended and appropriated by law or ordinance.”
It recommended P6,000 bail each for the respondents’ provisional liberty.