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JV pleads not guilty

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito yesterday entered a not guilty plea on the technical malversation case filed against him during his arraignment at Sandiganbayan in Quezon City yesterday.

The complaint stemmed from the alleged anomalous procurement of R2.1-million worth of high-powered firearms during his term as mayor of San Juan City in 2008.

“Not guilty, your honor,” Ejercito told the magistrates of the Sixth Division after the information on the case was read by the clerk of court.

Also pleading not guilty on the case were former Vice Mayor Leonardo Celles and former Councilors Adoni Miguel Lopez Carballo, Dante Espiritu Santiago, Grace Cortes Pardines, Eduardo Valerde Soriano, and Joseph Christopher Torralba.

Ejercito maintained that he is innocent of the charges against him. His co-accused also maintained their innocence on the deal and attested they did nothing wrong.

Government prosecutors said the money used for the purchase came from the city government’s calamity fund despite the fact that there was no calamity at that time.

The Ombudsman said that the purchase was done in haste without competitive bidding and examination of the supplier’s qualifications. (PNA and Czarina Nicole O. Ong)