By: Marites Toledo
THE Office of the Ombudsman gained another defeat against alleged corrupt government official.
This time, its graft case against Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito was dismissed by the Sandiganbayan for lack of sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of Ejercito.
It can be remembered that corruption charges that the Office of the Ombudsman filed against big fishes in the government such as those against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Agriculture Underrsecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante, former Agriculture Sec. Luis Ramon “Chito” Lorenzo, former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay, and several others were dismissed by the Sandiganbayan despite of the claims of the Office of the Ombudsman that it has sufficient evidence to pin them down.
The 5th Division of the Sandiganbayan said the government prosecutors failed to prove that Ejercito had given favor on the HK Tactical Defense System, Inc. (HKTDSI), supplier of firearms, to become the supplier of the P2.1 Million worth of firearms in 2008.
During 2008, Ejercito was the mayor of San Juan City.
The Sandiganbayan said the government lawyers could not show sufficient pieces of evidence to prove the guilt of Ejercito in giving favor on HKTDHI.
In a 45-page ruling, the court’s Fifth Division granted the demurrer to evidence filed by Ejercito, saying there was no proof he gave unwarranted benefit to the HKTDSI.
“HKTDSI could, therefore, not have been given any advantage by the accused BAC members because it was not the exclusive distributor of DAEWOO guns and there is no evidence that the accused manipulated the elimination of other DAEWOO suppliers,” the court said.
However, Ejercito is also facing technical malversation of funds because the P2.1 Million money that was used in purchasing the high-powered firearms were originally intended as calamity funds of the city.