Sandigan finds probable cause to try Ronnie Ricketts for graft
The Sandiganbayan found probable cause to hold Optical Media Board (OMB) chair Ronnie Ricketts for trial for graft for allegedly allowing the pullout of seized pirated DVDs (digital video discs) that would have served as evidence against suspected makers of counterfeit products.
In a resolution, the antigraft court’s Fourth Division said it found probable cause to hold Ricketts and his co-accused on trial based on the evidence of record.
Upon finding probable cause, a court issues a warrant of arrest. But since Ricketts and his fellow accused have posted bail, the court said the warrant is no longer necessary. Graft is a bailable offense.
“After a judicious, personal, and independent review of the record, which includes the Office of the Ombudsman’s joint resolution finding probable cause against the accused, the Office of the Ombudsman’s joint order denying the motion for reconsideration of the accused, the affidavit-complaint, the counter-affidavits of the accused, and all other filings and supporting documents or evidence on record, the Court finds that probable cause exists for the issuance of the corresponding warrant of arrest against the accused,” the court said.
The Ombudsman said Ricketts gave undue preference to Sky High Marketing Corp. when he ordered the confiscation of pirated DVDs and VCDs (video compact discs) from the firm’s office only to have the evidence withdrawn.
On May 27, 2010, the OMB seized 127 boxes and two sacks of pirated DVDs, VCDs and a video recording human I.P.C. Its agents also arrested three Chinese nationals during the raid in Quiapo, Manila.
The seized items were brought to the OMB office in the afternoon but were pulled out in the evening of the same day without any approved gate pass and loaded onto a vehicle owned by Sky High, the investigators said.
Accused with Ricketts for graft are Executive Director Cyrus Paul Valenzuela, Head of the Enforcement and Inspection Division (EID) Manuel Mangubat, Investigation Agent I Joseph Arnaldo and Computer Operator Glenn Perez.
Among the co-accused, only Valenzuela has yet to post bail and thus the court issued a warrant of arrest against him.
Meanwhile, the court set Ricketts and his co-accused’s arraignment on July 23, 8:30 a.m. IDL
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