MANILA, June 26 (Mabuhay) – The Sandiganbayan has raffled off the fresh batch of cases lodge before against public officials and personalities including the cases of controversial businessman Cedric Lee and action star Ronnie Ricketts.
Set to handle the two counts of graft filed last Monday by the Office of the Ombudsman against Lee and former Mariveles, Bataan mayor Angel Peliglorio, Jr. was the anti-graft court’s Third Division chaired by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.
The graft cases against Lee and Peliglorio stemmed from the alleged anomalous release of P23 million worth of public funds of Mariveles town to Lee’s construction firm Izumo Contractors, Inc. for the supposed construction of a public market.
The Ombudsman said that based on its investigation, the fund was released to Izumo “even without procedural safeguards and guarantee of performance,” and that the project has “never commenced”.
Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division under Associate Justice Jose Hernandez is set to handle the one count of graft case against Ricketts, the incumbent chairman of the Optical Media Board (OMB). Rickett’s co-accused are four other officials of the OMB.
Based on the Ombudsman’s complaint filed on Tuesday, Ricketts and his co-accused allegedly allowed in 2010 the return of tons of confiscated pirated DVDs and VCDs to its owner, the firm Sky High Marketing Corporation, instead of filing charges.
Also raffled was the graft case of former Catanauan, Quezon Mayor Sebastian Serrano and two of his co-accused filed by the Ombudsman on Monday. The case went to the Second Division chaired by Associate Justice Teresita Diaz-Baldos.
Meanwhile, the graft and malversation cases against Provident Fund Office administrator Dely De Leon and nine of her co-accused filed by the Ombudsman on Wednesday went to the Fifth Division under Associate Justice Roland Jurado.
The court divisions are expected to issue arrest order against the accused any time.
The accused, however, may post bail even before an arrest order is issued in exchange for their temporary liberty.
As of Friday afternoon, Lee, Ricketts, and the other accused officials have yet to post bail as checked by reporters with the Sandiganbayan Cashier Division.(MNS)