MANILA - Senator JV Ejercito's camp rejected the state prosecution's bid to place him under a 90-day preventive suspension while his cases are pending litigation.
Ejercito is accused of graft and technical malversation over the alleged anomalous purchase of high-powered firearms using P2.1 million in San Juan City's calamity funds when he was mayor in 2008.
The prosecution asked Sandiganbayan to suspend the other accused, including San Juan City administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, legal officer Romualdo Delos Santos and Danilo Mercado, special assistant on documentation and compliance of the Office of the Mayor.
Sandigan urged to suspend JV Ejercito
In a reply submitted to the Sandiganbayan, the defense argued that Ejercito is "not a threat to the unimpeded resolution of the case."
The defense added they share most of the witnesses presented by the prosecution, and state lawyers failed to prove that they, in anyway, may abuse their position to intimidate any witness.
They also reiterated, the accused have no opportunity to manipulate the pieces of evidence which are in possession of the prosecution.
The defense also mentioned that their suspension will "interrupt public service" as they serve "important government positions."
"Ejercito is currently serving as senator and has co-authored more than 100 bills in his tenure. His priorities and advocacies are education, job creation, the protection of workers, and peace and prosperity in Mindanao. His suspension will cause halt, albeit temporary, in the process of his projects and advocacies," the defense stated.
"Accused Dacalos, De Los Santos and Ching are all appointed public officials of San Juan City. Their suspension can cause standstill in the services of the city, to the detriment of the San Juan City residents."