Sandiganbayan acquits Ejercito in firearms deal case

THE Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has acquitted Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito of graft over the alleged anomalous use of calamity funds for the purchase of firearms during his term as mayor of San Juan City.

In a 54-page order, the anti-graft court granted the Ejercito camp's demurrer to evidence despite opposition from the prosecution.

The court found no evidence to prove that Ejercito gave undue benefit to HK Tactical Defense System Inc. (HKTDSI), supplier of the P2.1 million worth firearms for the police in San Juan.

The court set aside the senator's suspension order issued on August 16, 2016, while the Hold Departure Order issued against Ejercito and his fellow accused in the graft cases were lifted.

Earlier, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Sandiganbayan to suspend Ejercito for 90 days as he faces graft charges.

Associate Justices Rafael Ragos and Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega concurred with the decision penned by Roland Jurado.

"I thank the good justices of the Sandiganbayan for remaining true to their duty of upholding justice and fairness," Ejercito said in a statement.

He said that all throughout the entire judicial process he maintained his innocence of the charges against him. He added that he maintained his faith in the fairness of the country's judicial system.

"These beliefs have been reaffirmed by the decision of the Sandiganbayan," he said.

Ejercito who opted to take a leave of absence confirmed that he is now going back to the Senate to continue his work as an elected senator.

Aside from Ejercito, the court also acquitted his fellow accused namely: Ranulfo Dacalos, Rosalinda Marasigan, Romualdo delos Santos, Lorenza Ching and Danilo Mercado. (Sunnex)
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