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Ombudsman indicts JV, 19 San Juan officials for graft

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to charge former mayor and now Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and 19 others for graft and technical malversation of public funds before the Sandiganbayan for their alleged role in the anomalous purchase of high-powered firearms by the San Juan City government back in 2008.

Also ordered indicted for technical malversation were then vice mayor Leonardo Celles together with then city councilors Andoni Carballo, Vincent Pacheco, Angelino Mendoza, Dante Santiago, Rolando Bernardo, Grace Pardines, Domingo Sese, Francis Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Janna Ejercito-Surla, Franciso Zamora, Ramon Nakpil and Joseph Torralba.

The Office of the Ombudsman likewise ordered the filing of graft charges against the members of the bids and awards committee (BAC) who include then city administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan, city attorney Romualdo Delos Santos, city budget officer Lorenza Ching and city engineer Danilo Mercardo.

Dacalos, Marasigan, Delos Santos, Mercado and Barazon were also found guilty of the administrative offense of misconduct and were ordered suspended without pay for six months.

Announcing the results of its investigation yesterday, the Office of the Ombudsman found that in February 2008, Ejercito requested the city council for authority to purchase high-powered firearms using the city’s calamity funds.

Ejercito explained that the procurement was “an investment for disaster preparedness” and 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. 5.56 mm sub-machine guns and 17 units of Daewoo model K1 cal. 5.56 mm sub-machines guns in the total amount of P2.1 million.

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

ANDONI CARBALLO

ANGELINO MENDOZA

CIRCULAR NO

CITY

CITY ORDINANCE NO

DANILO MERCARDO

DANTE SANTIAGO

DELOS SANTOS

DOMINGO SESE

EJERCITO

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN

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