Sandigan affirms dismissal of JV Ejercito firearms case

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2017 03:02 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 6th Division has denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution on the acquittal of Sen. JV Ejercito who was accused of technical malversation for the purchase of firearms when he was mayor of San Juan City.

Ejercito, along with other city officials were accused by the Ombudsman of the irregular use of the 2008 calamity funds for the purchase of 20 firearms to curb criminality in the city.

Also acquitted along with Ejercito in the decision of the court promulgated August 10, 2017, are Leonardo Celles, Andoni Miguel Carballo, Vincent Rainer Pacheco, Angelino Mendoza, Dante SAntiago, Rolando Bernardo, Grace Pardines, Domingo Ses, Francis Keith Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla, Francisco Javier Zamora, Ramon Nakpil and Josephy Christopher Torralba. 

The prosecution then filed their motion for reconsideration on August 23, saying the court committed grave abuse in acquitting Ejercito and the other accused individuals. 

Citing the doctrine of double jeopardy, however, the court denied the motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.

The court noted a Supreme Court decision that an acquittal is immediately final and executory upon its promulgation and that as a general rule, it can neither be appealed nor reconsidered because it will place the accused under double jeopardy.

“Clearly, the reconsideration of the assailed decision and the further prosecution of the accused for the same offense of Illegal Use of Public Funds is violative of the Constitutional prohibition on double joepardy,” the court said in a decision ordered by Associate Justice Karl Miranda, with the concurrence of Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi.

The court also said that the motion for reconsideration of the prosecution did not present new arguments which may cause the reversal of the decision to acquit Ejercito.

“The Court finds nothing new in the arguments raised by the Prosecution in its motion. The grounds relied upon are a mere rehash or reiteration of the grounds and arguments already passed upon and resolved by the Court in the assailed decision,” the court said.