No regrets over firearms purchase, says Sen. Ejercito

MANILA — Faced with a graft case, Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said he did not regret his decision to purchase firearms for San Juan City when he was then mayor, saying he felt it was his “duty” to do so.

“I do not regret such decision as it was my bounden duty and responsibility to protect the well-being of the city residents,” Ejercito said.

“As San Juan City Mayor, I felt that it was my duty to approve the purchase of firearms for our policemen as the crime situation had simply gotten out of hand,” he added.

Ejercito maintained that the San Juan City police force urgently needed firearms against criminals who according to him “virtually held the city under siege.”

If he were faced with the same situation, he said he would not hesitate to make the same decision.

The incumbent senator, however, said that he respected the order of Sandiganbayan.

“I know I did the right thing and that justice in the end will be on my side,” he added.

In his official Twitter account, Ejercito said he will be winding down work before he goes on a forced vacation. He is set to deliver a privilege speech on Transport Crisis and Railway system on Wednesday.

He also said he was “overwhelmed” with the show of support given to him by his colleagues and supporters.

To recall, Sandiganbayan ordered the suspension of Ejercito and three others for 90 days in connection with the graft case filed against them on the allegedly anomalous purchase of firearms in 2008.

Ejercito’s graft case stemmed from the procurement made by the San Juan city government of high-powered rifles in 2008, when he was city mayor.

The purchase was made using the calamity funds of San Juan City even though the city was then not under a state of calamity. Azer Parrocha/PNA/