THE Sandiganbayan 6th Division has acquitted Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito and 14 others of technical malversation charges in connection with the 2008 purchase of firearms when Mr. Ejercito was mayor of San Juan City.
The decision made Thursday, Aug. 10, by the graft court’s 6th division granted the demurrer of evidence filed by Mr. Estrada and his coaccused, which asserted that the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence that the accused had tapped P2.1 million from the city’s calamity fund for the purchase of firearms.
The court stated that “the documentary evidence of the prosecution consisting of procurement documents… do not show on their faces that the payment for the said procurement was sourced or came from the 2008 Calamity Fund of San Juan.”
The decision also pointed out that the City Ordinances “merely gave authority to accused Ejercito to purchase firearms for the San Juan Police Department and allocat[e] funds for the said purpose out of the City’s Calamity Fund.”
“These ordinances do not prove or establish the ‘actual use’ of the said appropriated calamity fund in the said procurement of firearms by accused Ejercito,” the court said.
Mr. Ejercito and his coaccused were charged in 2015 by the Office of the Ombudsman. In a tweet on Friday, the senator said, “At the moment, I am just grateful that my name has been cleared and redeemed from charges.” — with Mario M. Banzon