Ejercito buying guns with calamity funds with no regrets
While saddened by his suspension, Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said he did not regret approving the purchase of firearms using calamity funds when he was mayor of San Juan.
Ejercito added that if faced with the same situation he would do it again. But the senator said he was “truly saddened” by the Sandiganbayan’s order to suspend him for 90 days for graft as it would prevent him from doing his duties as a senator.
“Let me reiterate that as San Juan City mayor then, 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. Our police force needed more than moral support as it urgently needed firepower against criminals who virtually held the city under siege. Thus, I approved the purchase of additional firearms for our police force to protect the lives and property of my constituents,” Ejercito said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I do not regret such decision as it was my bounden duty and responsibility to protect the well-being of the city residents,” he said. Ejercito pointed out that even the present administration knew that the campaign against crime and illegal drugs required the Philippine National Police to be “well-equipped” to run after criminals.
“Our law enforcers on the ground cannot hope to subdue criminals with sheer will power unless they have adequate firepower. This is precisely what I realized during my term as City Mayor, and this is the reason why I did not hesitate to do the same thing when faced with similar circumstances in San Juan then,” he said.
“I wish to make it clear that I respect the order of the court. In the same breath, however, I am fighting this legal battle without delay as deep in my heart I know I did the right thing and that justice in the end will be on my side,” the senator added.
Despite the Sandiganbayan’s order, Ejercito attended the Senate committee on justice and human rights’ hearing on the spate of killings in the country. He even joked about asking the last question before he was served with the suspension.