Sandiganbayan clears JV Ejercito, 14 others of graft, malversation charges

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(File photo) Sen. JV Ejercito

This article was updated to include Sen. JV Ejercito's official statement.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 11) — The Sandiganbayan cleared Senator JV Ejercito and 14 others of graft and technical malversation charges.

In an 23-page decision released Friday, the Sixth Division graft and corruption court acquitted the senator and his co-accused for lack of evidence.

"This verdict of acquittal is based on failure of prosecution to present proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused indeed used the 2008 calamity fund of San Juan City in the procurement and payment of the subject firearms," the decision read.

The court also lifted the hold departure order on the senator.

 

The others covered in the decision are:

  • Leonardo G. Celles
  • Andoni Miguel L. Carballo
  • Vincent Rainer M. Pacheco
  • Angelino O. Mendoza
  • Dante E. Santiago
  • Rolando M. Bernardo
  • Grace C. Pardines
  • Domingo M. Sese
  • Francis Keith R. Peralta
  • Edgardo V. Soriano
  • Janna A. Ejercito-Surla
  • Francisco Javier M. Zamora
  • Ramon G. Nakpil
  • Joseph Christopher T. Torralba

Ejercito said in a statement on Friday that the decision reaffirmed his "faith in the fairness of our judicial system."

"I thank the good justices of the Sandiganbayan for remaining true to their duty of upholding justice and fairness. At the moment, I am just grateful that my name has been cleared and redeemed from charges," said Ejercito.

The senator added that he would continue to pursue efforts in transportation and housing among others during his time in office. He also reacted to the statement on Twitter.

 

The Ombudsman filed the charges on May 30 over a questionable purchase of weapons for the police when Ejercito was San Juan mayor.

Related: Ejercito pleads not guilty in technical malversation case

CNN Philippines multi-platform writer Regine Cabato and correspondents Anjo Alimario, Camille Abadicio, and Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.