Tuesday, December 8, 2015

JV Ejercito, 19 San Juan officials charged for firearms procurement 08 December 2015 - Office of the Ombudsman

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The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to charge former Mayor, now Senator, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) and Technical Malversation in connection with the anomalous procurement of high-powered firearms in February 2008. Also facing charges 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. 

The Ombudsman also found probable cause for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 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. 

Dacalos, Marasigan, Delos Santos, Mercado and Alicia Barazon (Accountant) were also found guilty of Misconduct and were ordered suspended without pay for six months.

The investigation found 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, that there was no declaration placing San Juan under a state of calamity.

In its 20-page Joint Resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman found that there was a “hasty procurement of specific high-powered firearms of a particular brand sans competitive bidding and without any post-qualification, bolstered by bid documents bearing dates earlier than the publication of the invitation to bid, showing that an unwarranted benefit, advantage and preference” was accorded to the supplier. 

According to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Ejercito “acted in concert with the members of the city council who authorized him to purchase firearms using the city’s calamity funds paving the way for the application of public funds for a purpose different from the one for which they were originally appropriated by law.” 

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