In separate charge sheets filed before the Sandiganbayan, the Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) charged Ejercito with one count of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and one count of technical malversation as defined under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
Charged with Ejercito were several other former and incumbent officials of San Juan, including incumbent vice mayor Francisco Zamora.
Zamora, son of San Juan City Rep. Ronnie Zamora, is running for mayor in the upcoming elections going against Ejercito’s mother incumbent Mayor Guia Gomez.
The OSP recommended that each accused pay P30,000 bail bond for graft and P6,000 bail bond for technical malversation in exchange for their provisional liberty.
Based on the information of the cases, Ejercito, son of former President and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, conspired with San Juan City officials for the purchase of high-powered firearms in February 2008 during his term as the mayor of the city.
The OSP said the money used for the purchase of the firearms came from the city government’s calamity fund, despite the fact that there was no state of calamity at that time.
The OSP further alleged that the purchase was done in haste without competitive bidding and examination of the supplier’s qualifications.
Based on the Ombudsman’s records, the firearms purchased included three units of K2 cal. 5.56mm sub-machine guns and 17 units of Daewoo model K1 cal. 5.56mm sub-machines guns in the total amount of P2.1 million.
The OSP pointed out that under Circular No. 2003-1 of the Department of Budget and Management and Department of Interior and Local Government, high-powered firearms are not among the items contemplated for disaster relief and mitigation.
The OSP said the use of the government fund – in this case, the calamity fund – for purpose different from the one for which it was originally appropriated by law is considered technical malversation.
Meanwhile, Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act refers to the giving of unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to any party, or on the other hand, causing undue injury to any party by a public official in the discharge of his official functions.