Sen. JV Ejercito. (INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO/ NOY MORCOSO III)
MANILA — The Sandiganbayan 6th Division has allowed Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito to go to France this month for an official parliamentary visit.
Ejercito’s June 14 motion was granted in open court on Monday, subject to the submission of a travel authority from Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and a detailed itinerary.
He has been allowed to leave the country from June 27 to July 3 to join Pimentel in the parliamentary trip.
On the agenda are various meetings with the members of the French Senate, the France-Southeast Asia Interparliamentary Group, and the French Constitutional Council.
Other meetings set for confirmation would be held with the members of the National Assembly, the Foreign Minister, and the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.
Ejercito had told the court that he was not a flight risk, because “he is a Senator of the Republic and owes fidelity to the people who voted for him.” He added that his scheduled quick return to the country “manifests the absence of any intention on his part to flee.”
Ejercito still had to seek the court’s permission pending his trial for technical malversation in connection with the San Juan City government’s alleged misuse of P2.1 million in calamity funds to purchase high-powered firearms in 2008. At the time, Ejercito was city mayor. The funds were allegedly misappropriated because the city was not declared under the state of calamity and the guns were not among the items allowed to be purchased with the funds
While the technical malversation case is still pending trial at the Sixth Division, the court’s Fifth Division in Dec. 22 already granted Ejercito’s demurrer against the separate graft case in connection with alleged procurement anomalies in the award of the contract to lone bidder HK Tactical Defense System, Inc. SFM