Prosecutors are asking the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division to preventively suspend Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and three of his co-accused pending litigation of the graft case filed against them.
Earlier, the Office of the Ombudsman charged Ejercito and five others of graft in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of high-powered firearms in 2008 when he was mayor of San Juan. Trial began this week.
“With the arraignment of all of the accused on April 18, 2016 … suspension must follow as a matter of course,” the prosecution said in a Motion to Suspend Accused Pendente Lite (pending litigation) filed last week.
Five others were charged along with Ejercito, including then city administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, who was also chairperson of the city Bids and Awards Committee (BAC); as well as former BAC members, namely: city treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan, city legal officer Romualdo de los Santos, city budget officer Lorenza Ching and city engineer Danilo Mercado.
In its motion, the prosecution asked the anti-graft court’s First Division to preventively suspend only Ejercito, Dacalos, de los Santos and Ching, who continue to hold government posts.
It cited Section 13 of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which provides that any incumbent public officer subject to any criminal prosecution shall be suspended from office.
The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that preventive suspension under Section 13 of the RA 3019 is mandatory, the prosecution said.