OMB chair Ronnie Ricketts pleads not guilty to graft
Optical Media Board (OMB) chair Ronnie Ricketts pleaded not guilty on Thursday to graft charges for allegedly allowing the pullout of seized pirated DVDs that would have served as evidence against suspected counterfeiters in March 2010.
Ricketts and his co-accused were arraigned before the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division.
His co-accused Manuel Mangubat, head of the OMB’s Enforcement and Inspection Division (EID), Investigation Agent I Joseph Arnaldo and Computer Operator Glenn Perez also pleaded not guilty to similar charges.
In its information against the former action star, the Ombudsman said Ricketts gave undue preference to Sky High Marketing Corp. when he ordered the confiscation of pirated DVDs (digital video discs) and VCDs (video compact discs) from the firm’s office only to have the evidence withdrawn.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.
Another co-accused, Executive Director Cyrus Paul Valenzuela, would be arraigned on Aug. 13.