Vital evidence in Ricketts' graft case missing

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2016 03:52 PM

MANILA - An Optical Media Board (OMB) administrative officer on Wednesday admitted failure in locating a missing logbook which is a vital piece of evidence in the graft case of former OMB Chairman Ronnie Ricketts.

Ricketts, and four other OMB employees, Manuel Mangubat, Joseph Arnaldo, Glenn Perez and Cyrus Villanueva, are facing charges for allegedly allowing the release of seized DVDs and VCDs from Sky High Marketing Corporation.

The contraband items would have been the only evidence against the suspected counterfeiters.

The logbook contained the sequence of events that happened on May 27, 2010, the day when the confiscated video materials were pulled out from the OMB office in Quezon City. This includes the time the confiscated video materials were pulled out, the name of persons, and the plate numbers of the trucks where the DVDs were loaded.

Administrative officer Lucia Guevarra said there was no record that the logbook was surrendered to the personnel unit office, and that even the head of the security guards and the property custodian do not know where the records are.

"They told me there are no logbooks in their cabinet because it was transferred to personnel unit," Guevarra said.

Guevarra admitted her office does not have a system to keep track of the logbooks.

Sandiganbayan Justice Alex Quiroz questioned the OMB's lack of efficiency in keeping significant documents, citing that the logbook is not just a "mere document."

Quiroz added that Guevarra's office may be held liable for the missing logbook.

"Even the Ombudsman asked to produce it, yet you failed to produce it," Quiroz told Guevarra.

"I would like if the original logbook was there. Malilinawan sana," Villanueva said.

READ: Sandiganbayan suspends Ronnie Ricketts, 3 others

Meanwhile, former chief of OMB administrative and finance division Evelyn Asoy was also asked to testify on Wednesday.

Asoy said she saw bundles of DVDs inside the OMB premises on May 27, 2010, and wondered on the absence of the video materials the following day.

She issued a memorandum to the chief executive office and executive director of the Enforcement and Investigation Division asking for an explanation on why the confiscated DVDs and VCDs were pulled out without a gate pass.

She said Pedro Gasingan, the security guard on-duty at that time, said the items were pulled out upon the orders of computer operator Glenn Perez.

Upon inquiry of the defense panel, Asoy also confirmed that the issuance of a gate pass is not part of the OMB's implementing rules and regulations.