‘Misinformation!’: Ricardo Cepeda’s stepsons defend actor over syndicated estafa charges

October 9, 2023 - 12:10 PM
Ricardo Cepeda
Ricardo Cepeda in the taping of "Mano Po Legacy: Her Big Boss" in this photo posted on his Facebook on March 16, 2022 (RicardoCepedaOfficial/Facebook)

Two stepsons of veteran actor Ricardo Cepeda, who was arrested by the police over charges of alleged syndicated estafa, called the incident a product of “misinformation” and told people to refrain from giving “hateful comments.

Model Joshua De Sequera on Sunday appealed for social media users to “spread the word” that his father was “wrongfully accused” after the latter was arrested by the Quezon City Police District on Saturday, October 7.

The warrant of arrest was issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 12 Judge Gemma Bucayu-Madrid in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan.

Syndicated estafa is a non-bailable offense under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Presidential Decree No. 1689.

It carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment, once proven beyond reasonable doubt that “the swindling is committed by a syndicate consisting of five or more persons formed with the intention of carrying out the unlawful or illegal act, transaction, enterprise or scheme.”

A law firm defines syndicated estafa as “a form of fraud wherein multiple individuals are deceived by a group or syndicate operating with a common purpose.”

The groups are said to “use false pretenses, misrepresentations, or fraudulent schemes to gain money or property from unsuspecting victims.”

Consequences involve financial loss.

As of October 8, the police said they were still looking for other people allegedly involved in the case.

Reports said Ricardo did not resist arrest.

Meanwhile, his stepsons took to social media to defend their father against what they think is “misinformation.”

“Please spread the word. My Father, Richard Cepeda Go, was wrongfully accused. He was simply the product endorser of a sales company. They used the title BRAND AMBASSADOR (which many companies also use),” Joshua said on Facebook a day after Richard’s arrest.

“The company offered an investment scheme (which he had no knowledge nor participation of) which paid people a big % profit monthly. Guaranteed with advanced payouts in monthly postdated checks.¬†Eventually, the checks started bouncing so the investors filed estafa cases against everyone who they thought was part of the company,” he added.

Joshua said that his stepfather was “just the celebrity model,” adding that the latter’s lawyer “can easily prove his innocence by presenting a copy of DTI showing the company is a sole proprietorship and [that] his name is not there.”

DTI is the Department of Trade and Industry which oversees the implementation of trade regulations and fair trade laws in the country.

“Also, his name appears nowhere on any of the said investment [MOAS] and post-dated checks. Request for bail and, if ever, court date [are] his biggest hassle because it means he’s stuck in detainment even though he’s innocent,” Joshua said in his post.

“I have seen a lot of hateful comments about this. IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENED, KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO YOURSELF,” he added.

Mark De Sequera, another one of Ricardo’s stepsons, also posted a similar status on Facebook.

“Friends and family, please spread the word. My dad, Richard Cepeda Go, was wrongfully accused. It’s absolutely heartbreaking that this is happening,” he said on October 8.

He then shared the same comments that Joshua posted on Facebook.

“These are really tough times and for those who know my dad, know for sure that he is an innocent and loving man,” Mark said towards the end.

“Seeing how other people are reacting, hate will only fuel the fire of misinformation. Share this post, spread the word and BE INFORMED,” he added.

Ricardo is the former husband of veteran actress Snooky Serna, with whom he has two children.

He is now the long-time partner of actress Marina Benipayo.

Ricardo appeared in the Netflix tearjerker “Doll House” and other movies like “Sin Island,” “Felix Manalo” and “Aurora.”

He also appeared in several television shows, which include “My Binondo Girl,” “Ang Dalawang Ikaw,” “Marimar,” “Honesto,” “Mga Lihim ni Urduja” and “Mula Sa Puso.”