Sen. Ejercito’s suspension not automatic –Pimentel

MANILA — Despite a suspension order issued by the Sandiganbayan against Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Tuesday said that his colleague will still have to report to work, at least for now.

“I have to read the copy first but I believe from my experience into my practice, this is not automatic,” Pimentel told reporters in an interview the same day the suspension order was released.

“It has to be implemented so Senator JV should still report to work tomorrow and the subsequent days,” the Senate President said.

Ejercito, for his part, said that he was “touched” by the support given by his colleagues but expressed confidence that he will win the case.

“(I) will be serving the 90-day preventive suspension because of the Php 2 million gun purchase case very soon. I am confident that I we will be vindicated,” Ejercito said.

He admitted that he felt sad that he will not be able to discharge his functions as a legislator noting that he has been enjoying every minute at the Senate “serving the people.”

The senator, however, urged his friends and supporters not to worry since he knew he was innocent.

“Not to worry guys, I know that I am innocent. Just continue praying that we have a favorable decision soon,” he added.

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.

In a six-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division said that Ejercito is suspended “from his position as Senator of the Republic of the Philippines, and from any other public office which he may now or hereafter be holding for a period of 90 days from receipt of this resolution, unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed.”

Ejercito’s graft case arose 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/