THE prosecution is asking the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division to reconsider its ruling acquitting Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and several others in the technical malversation case involving the alleged anomalous procurement of firearms in 2008 when he was San Juan City mayor.
“With all due respect to this Honorable Court, the prosecution humbly submits that it was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the existence of the fourth element of crime of Technical Malversation – the public officer applies the public fund to a public use other than which such fund or property has been appropriated by law or ordinance. It was proven beyond reasonable doubt that the calamity fund was indeed used to purchase the subject firearms,” the prosecution said in part.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the case at the Sandiganbayan in 2016, alleging that the 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.
But the court’s Sixth Division found that the prosecution’s evidence “failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that 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.”
It also found that the city ordinances gave authority to Ejercito to purchase firearms for the San Juan Police Department and allocated funds for the purpose out of the calamity fund, but that these “do not prove or establish the ‘actual use’ of the said appropriated calamity fund” in the procurement of firearms.
The court thus granted the respective demurrers to evidence of and acquitted 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, Joseph Torralba, Angelino Mendoza, Rolando Bernardo, Francisco Zamora, Domingo Sese (deceased), and Ramon Nakpil (deceased). MA. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO