Graft, malversation charges filed vs JV Ejercito

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Graft, malversation charges filed vs JV Ejercito


(4th UPDATE) The Ombudsman has denied the motions for reconsideration filed by the senator and 19 others, paving the way for the filing of charges with the anti-graft court over the alleged misuse of San Juan's calamity fund

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – The Office of the Ombudsman filed criminal charges against Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and 19 other former and incumbent San Juan City officials before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Wednesday, March 30.

This is based on the indictment for graft and technical malversation against Ejercito and his co-respondents that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved in December 2015.

The case involves the alleged unlawful diversion of P2.1 million ($45,360) in calamity funds for the purchase of high-powered firearms for the city’s police department. 

The transaction was completed in 2008, when Ejercito was San Juan mayor.

Among the others indicted for graft are members of the city government’s Bids and Awards Committee: City Administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, Treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan, City Attorney Romualdo Delos Santos, City Budget Officer Lorenza Ching, and City Engineer Danilo Mercado.

Ejercito’s co-defendants in the technical malversation case are former vice mayor Leonardo Celles, along with the city councilors at the time of the transaction: Andoni Carballo, Vincent Pacheco, Angelino Mendoza, Dante Santiago, Rolando Bernardo, Grace Pardines, Domingo Sese, Francis Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla, Ramon Nakpil,  Joseph Torralba, and Francisco Zamora, who is now vice mayor.

Rawnsle Lopez, Ombudsman Public Information and Media Relations Bureau director, confirmed that motions for reconsideration filed by the respondents have been denied, paving the way for the formal filing of the charges with the Sandiganbayan.

Based on the findings of graft investigators, the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed City Ordinance No. 9 (Series of 2008) authorizing Ejercito to proceed with the procurement of 3 model K2 cal. 5.56mm sub-machine guns and 17 units of Daewoo model K1 cal. 5.56mm sub-machine guns, at a cost of P2.1 million.

‘Bereft of merit’

In denying the MRs filed by the respondents, the Ombudsman said “the motions are bereft of merit” as “respondents failed to submit newly-discovered evidence which would materially affect the assailed findings.”

Morales said the respondents  “failed to establish to establish that grave errors of facts or laws or serious irregularities have been committed prejudicial to their interest.”

“The arguments presented are mere rehash of the arguments in their previous pleadings,” she sadded.

The Ombudsman said that under DBM-DILG Circular No. 2003-1, high-powered firearms are not among the items contemplated for disaster relief and mitigation.

It also said that that at the time of the procurement, there was no declaration placing San Juan under a state of calamity.

In addition to violation of the rules on calamity fund use, the Ombudsman also questioned the lack of public bidding and other indicators showing that unwarranted benefit, advantage, and preference was accorded to the supplier.

The Ombudsman pointed out that the bid documents were dated earlier than the publication of the invitation to bid, raising doubts on the regularity of the process.

‘Politically motivated’

In a statement on Wednesday, Ejercito alleged that the move of the Ombudsman was “politically motivated.”

“It is unfortunate that the Office of the Ombudsman denied my motion for reconsideration on the 2008 case of firearms procurement, when I was San Juan City Mayor. My conscience, however, remains clear. I did not commit technical malversation. The firearms purchase was done accordingly within the law, that is why COA cleared us from any disallowance,” he said.

“My lawyer and I are preparing the next steps to resolve this case, which is clearly politically motivated,” the senator added.

On Wednesday, he took to Twitter to reiterate that the Commission on Audit has not issued a Notice of Disallowance to the San Juan government, which he cited as proof that there was no anomaly in the procurement of the weapons.


Ejercito, the son of former president, now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada with San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez, had earlier said that the purchase of the high-powered firearms for the San Juan police was the city’s deterrent against “the spike of criminal incidents within the metropolis such as robbery-holdup, kidnap for ransom, and gun for hire.” –

$1 = P46.30

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