- Prosecutors have filed a motion to the Sandiganbayan to issue a preventive suspension against Sen. JV Ejercito while awaiting litigation on charges of graft
- Along with other officials, the Senator is being tried for allegedly misusing San Juan City's calamity funds by purchasing 20 submachine guns for the city Police while he was sitting mayor
- In 2008, the city approved the purchase of the weapons using the calamity funds despite the city not facing any calamity
Government prosecutors are taking to Sandiganbayan a petition to suspend Sen. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito from office while the senator is on trial for charges of graft for allegedly using San Juan's calamity funds to purchase 20 submachine guns for the city police while he was still sitting mayor of the city in 2008.
The antigraft tribunal's Fifth Division received a motion on July 15 that seeks preventive suspension of the senator and 3 other incumbent officials of San Juan that are being tried on graft over the alleged irregular spending.
Included in the motion to be suspended while waiting for litigation are city administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, legal officer Romualdo De los Santos, and Lorenza Ching, who served as special assistant to the mayor.
Ejercito has declared to fend off any motions to suspend him saying that he ought to service in office to fulfill the people's mandate when he got elected in 2013.
“I intend to vigorously oppose the motion of the prosecution to stop me from performing my duties as senator of the republic,” the senator said in his statement late Friday afternoon.
He added that his lawyers would counter the prosecution's motion to suspend him but at the same time, cooperate and abide with whatever the Sandiganbayan would decide on the matter.
He defended allegations against him saying that the procurement of weapons in 2008 was aboveboard.
Last April, Ejercito along with the other officials pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecution cited Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which mandates the preventive suspension of public officials with pending criminal cases in court.
The same provision states the accused will forfeit retirement and gratuity benefits under any law once convicted. If acquitted, the official will be there reinstated.
In 2008, the San Juan city council had passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of 20 submachine guns using the city's calamity funds even when the city was not facing a calamity.
The prosecutors argue that the purchase of firearms was done hastily absent any form of competitive bidding which the law mandates. This led to Ejercito, along with a different set of officials, now being tried for graft.
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