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The Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan, the Informations for graft and Technical Malversation against former San Juan mayor, now Senator, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and 19 other officials local officials for the anomalous procurement of high-powered firearms worth P2.1million in 2008.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales affirmed the finding of probable cause to charge Ejercito, for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) and Technical Malversation. Included in the charge sheet for Technical Malversation are Vice-Mayor Leonardo Celles, together with City Councilors Andoni Carballo, Vincent Pacheco, Angelino Mendoza, Dante Santiago, Rolando Bernardo, Grace Pardines, Domingo Sese, Francis Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla, Francisco Javier Zamora, Ramon Nakpil and Joseph Christopher Torralba.

Additionally, the Ombudsman also affirmed the finding of probable cause against the Bids and Awards Committee members, namely: City Administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, Treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan, City Attorney Romualdo Delos Santos, City Budget Officer Lorenza Ching and City Engineer Danilo Mercardo, for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.

The investigation revealed that in February 2008, Ejercito requested the City Council for authority to purchase high-powered firearms using its calamity fund.  Ejercito explained that the procurement was “an investment for disaster preparedness.”  In response, the councilors passed City Ordinance No. 9 (Series of 2008) authorizing Ejercito to purchase firearms for the San Juan Police Department.

In 2008, respondents purchased three units of model K2 cal. 5.56mm sub-machine guns and 17 units of Daewoo model K1 cal. 5.56mm sub-machines guns in the total amount of P2.1million.

Under DBM-DILG Circular No. 2003-1, high-powered firearms are not among the items contemplated for disaster relief and mitigation.  More importantly, there was no declaration placing San Juan under a state of calamity at that time.

In denying the Motions for Reconsideration filed by Ejercito,, the Ombudsman stated that “the motions are bereft of merit” as “respondents failed to submit newly-discovered evidence which would materially affect the assailed findings.”

According to Ombudsman Morales, Ejercito,, “failed to establish to establish that grave errors of facts or laws or serious irregularities have been committed prejudicial to their interest” and that “the arguments presented are mere rehash of the arguments in their previous pleadings.”  ###