Graft court absolves Sen. JV Ejercito in technical malversation case

admin   •   August 11, 2017   •   5661

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan 6th Division has acquitted Senator JV Ejercito in a case involving the alleged illegal use of public funds filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The charges stemmed from the senator’s allegedly anomalous use of P2.1 million calamity fund of San Juan City to purchase firearms when he was still the mayor.

In a decision released by the anti-graft court on Thursday, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division explained it ruled in favor of the senator’s demurrer to evidence which sought to dismiss the case filed against him due to lack of evidence.

The Sandiganbayan said the prosecution failed to prove the existence of the alleged illegal transaction.

Aside from Senator Ejercito, the anti-graft court also acquitted his 14 co-accused, who are former city councilors, including former San Juan City vice mayor Francis Zamora.

Alongside the acquittal is the lifting of the hold departure order against them.

In a statement, Senator Ejercito has thanked Sandiganbayan for what he described as “upholding justice and fairness” in the trial of his case.

The senator is also glad that his name has already been cleared, further noting it proves he did not err in trusting the country’s judicial system. — Joyce Balancio | UNTV News & Rescue

Ex-Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca guilty of graft, malversation

Marje Pelayo   •   November 15, 2019

Former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandigabayan has found former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca guilty to charges of graft and malversation in relation to the province’s P25M rice program controversy in 2006.

The anti-graft court sentenced the former governor 12 to 14 years in prison for her malversation charge and six to 10 years jail term for graft.

The Court also ordered the former official to pay P18 million in fine to the Isabela government for allowing the controversial deal with a non-governmental organization despite disapproval from the Provincial Board.

Padaca was present during the promulgation and in an emotional tone, she maintained she did not steal from the people’s money.

The court allowed Padaca to double the amount of her bail from P70,000 to P140,000 for her temporary liberty which she needed to post within 10 days from the day of the verdict.

Her camp said they will immediately file a motion for reconsideration.

Incoming senator Dela Rosa eyes training on lawmaking

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2019

Former Philippine National Police chief and incoming senator, General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, speaks before his supporters during the campaign period. (Photo: Bato Dela Rosa Facebook)

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is planning to attend seminars on crafting laws should he win a seat in the Senate.

First time candidate Dela Rosa is poised to become a senator with more than 18 million votes in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) partial, unofficial results of the 2019 midterm elections.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Dela Rosa said he is seeking to attend seminars on lawmaking as this is the very essence of his work as a legislator.

“Ewan ko kung meron bang seminar diyan, or ano bang training dyan para matutuhan ko kung paano gawin ‘yung ng batas, kung paano gawin ‘yung trabaho sa Senado. Kung merong ganon I’ll take that opportunity para matuto ako,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

(Is there a seminar for that or training where I could learn how to craft laws or about our work in the Senate? If there’s any, I’ll take that opportunity so I could learn.)

But he added that he will not attend the training if these will be held in the University of the Philippines because it was “anti-police” and “anti-military.”

Dela Rosa also said that he plans to consult reelectionist Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and JV Ejercito on the things that he needs to do to prepare for the job.

“Magtawag tawag ako kina Koko Pimentel, JV Ejercito kung ano ba talaga ang trabaho ng senador. What do I need to prepare para pagpasok ko, hindi na ito katawa-tawa,” he said.

(I will call Koko Pimentel and JV Ejercito to ask about the job of a senator, what I need to prepare so I won’t look ridiculous when I enter the Senate.)

Dela Rosa is currently ranking fifth in the top-12 winning circle with 18,339,919 votes based on partial, unofficial results from Comelec as of 5:10 a.m. Wednesday.

Pimentel is currently at 11th spot with 14,255,261 votes while Ejercito is outside the winning circle at the 13th place with 13,897,153 votes.

“Kaya nga malungkot ako. Magdasal na lang. Sana si JV makaakyat, si Koko ‘wag nang bumaba,” Dela Rosa said.

(That’s why I am sad. I’ll just pray. I hope JV’s ranking would go up and Koko’s wouldn’t go down.)

Estrada concedes, asks supporters to rally behind Isko Moreno

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2019

Outgoing Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada | Courtesy : PVI-PRESS / Daniel Iglesias mylensitivity

MANILA, Philippines – Outgoing Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has conceded his defeat to newly-elected mayor Franscisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

In a statement released late Tuesday, Estrada congratulated Domagoso on his win and promised to prepare for a smooth transition of government.

“The people of Manila have spoken. The new leadership of the city will be coming in and I will prepare the smooth turnover of the city government,” he said.

“I congratulate the new mayor and I wish him all the best for the good of the people of Manila,” he added.

Estrada lost to Domagoso by a wide margin in the Manila mayoral race. He received 210,605 votes against Domagoso’s 357,925, based on votes from 100 percent of election returns from clustered precincts.

He also expressed gratitude to those who helped and stood by him throughout the 50 years of his political career.

“By June 30, my 50 years in politics and public service will come to an end with sterling colors of honesty and genuine concerns for the poor,” he said in a statement.

“I wish to thank all those who stood by me for the last 5 decades of my political life,” he added.

Estrada joined the political arena in 1969 while he was still a popular film actor. He ran and won as mayor of San Juan City and was succeeded by his sons Jinggoy and John Victor “JV” Ejercito, followed by JV’s mother, Guia Gomez, when he sought national positions. He first ran as senator in 1987, then vice president in 1992, and finally president in 1998.

He was ousted in 2001 over corruption charges and convicted of plunder in 2007. He was later pardoned and returned to politics to become Manila mayor in 2013.

But his years of foray in politics suddenly came to an end after his defeat against Moreno. The Estrada-Ejercito clan’s 50-year reign in San Juan was also cut off after his granddaughter, Janella, failed in her mayoral bid against former vice mayor Francis Zamora.

READ: End of an era? Estrada-Ejercito clan suffers crushing defeat in 2019 polls

Estrada also called on his supporters to rally behind the mayor-elect for the betterment of the city.

“I am calling all my supporters to rally behind the new leadership of the city,” he said.

“Hangad natin ang katagumpayan ng bagong liderato para sa kabutihan ng nakararami (We hope for the success of the new leadership for the welfare of the majority ,” he added.

He also said that he will leave the new leader with a city with no debt because he was able to clear it during his term.

“Taas-noo tayong lalabas ng city hall dahil nabayaran natin ang lahat ng pagkakautang na P4.4B na aking dinatnan noong 2013,” he said

(I will leave the city hall with head held high because we were able to pay the P4.4 billion debt that I inherited in 2013.)

“Dinatnan ko ang lungsod na bangkarote. Sa pagtatapos ng aking termino, iiwanan ko ang lungsod na may P14 bilyong pondo bunga ng masinop na pamamahala at maingat na paggasta sa perang pag-aari ng mga mamamayan,” he said.

(I inherited a bankrupt city. As my term comes to an end, I will leave a city with P14 billion fund due to good governance and careful spending of the people’s money)

He did not say whether he will retire once his term ends or plans to make a political comeback. He just said that “there’s always life after politics.”  

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