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Ejercito ready to go to jail

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV’’ Ejercito said yesterday he is ready to go to jail if protecting the lives of his constituents by equipping San Juan City policemen with high-powered rifles to fight off armed robbers and stem the spike of criminality is wrong.

“I’m hoping, I’m praying for a fair and just trial. I want to believe it (trial) is based on merits. Because I know in my heart that I did not do wrong,’’ Ejercito said.

Ejercito, a member of the super majority in the 24-member Senate, issued the statement as he is scheduled to appear before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division tomorrow on criminal charges arising from his purchase of 20 high-powered rifles for the San Juan City police when he was mayor in 2008.

He said the firearms being questioned by prosecutors were bought through public bidding at a time when there were bank robberies and holdups in San Juan City almost every day. Two policemen were killed in one of those heists.

“In San Juan, several were already killed because of robberies and two of our policemen were killed. So we rushed the purchase of high-powered rifles to protect the lives of my constituents,” Ejercito said.

“If that is my fate, if they want me jailed, what I know is I protected the lives of my constituents at the time. I’d rather not add to the number of those getting killed at the time,” Ejercito added. (Mario B. Casayuran)