Former Chairman Ronnie Ricketts of the Optical Media Board was jailed up to eight years and perpetually disqualified from holding public office for his mishandling of seized pirated video discs in 2010.
The Sandiganbayan promulgated the sentence on Ricketts, who was found guilty together with former OMB Enforcement and Inspection Division computer operator Glenn Perez.
The anti-graft court said Ricketts and his co-accused “gave undue benefit” to Sky High Marketing Corp. when the OMB confiscated tons of pirated compact discs in its Quezon City building on May 27, 2010.
Court records showed that instead of filing charges against the owners of Sky High, Ricketts and Perez allowed the compact discs to be “released and reloaded into the corporation’s vehicle.”
Associate Justice Alex Quiroz, the anti-graft court Fourth Division chairman, allowed Ricketts and Perez to appeal and were required to post a P30,000-bail.
Pedro Tanchuling, Ricketts’s lawyer, asked the court to defer the promulgation of its judgment, saying he had filed an urgent motion to reopen the case on Thursday.
Tanchuling offered to put Ricketts on the witness stand to prove his innocence. He also pleaded for at least another hearing so that Ricketts could give his testimony in open court.
“The Sandiganbayan may be clarified better if accused Ricketts would take the witness stand. We know [that the] remedy is also available to us but we would rather be allowed now. We will ensure this will be done in a one-day hearing,” Tanchuling said.
Prosecutor Rayman Rafael opposed the motion, saying the defense camp failed to provide legal grounds that would warrant its approval.
Quiroz said Ricketts had every opportunity to present evidence that could help his defense, but his lawyer opted otherwise. He also said granting the motion at this stage would be “procedurally improper.”
“The court sees no compelling reason why we have to defer the promulgation. The court has given the chance for accused to present his evidence, but movant-accused Ricketts opted not to submit his evidence,” Quiroz said.
The decision was written by Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto.
Ricketts’s other co-accused, then-EID head Manuel Mangubat and investigation agent Joseph Arnaldo, were acquitted.