Delfin Lee still in Philippines, says BinayPhilippine Daily Inquirer
CANDABA, Pampanga—There’s still hope that fugitive real estate developer Delfin Lee would be arrested because he is still in the Philippines, Vice President Jejomar Binay said Monday, quoting immigration and police authorities.
“Based on the certifications of the immigration [bureau] and the police, he is still in the country,” Binay told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the sidelines of a relief mission here.
Binay chairs the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund), the state firm that filed a case of syndicated estafa against Lee after his real estate company, Globe Asiatique, allegedly took out P7 billion in fraudulent housing loans.
The Vice President said he was happy that President Benigno Aquino had raised the reward for Lee’s arrest to P2 million.
“This only shows the President is determined to bring to justice those who (oppress people),” he said.
But Lee’s Pampanga-based lawyer, Willie Rivera, said he was not sure if Lee was still in the country, saying that he only communicates with his client by telephone.
Rivera said his last telephone conversation with Lee was last month.
A regional trial court in San Fernando issued on May 22 an arrest warrant for Lee, his son Dexter, two Globe Asiatique executives and a lawyer of Pag-Ibig Fund for syndicated estafa.
According to Pag-Ibig, Globe Asiatique committed irregularities in taking out housing loans for its Xevera projects in Bacolor and Mabalacat towns in Pampanga. These included recruiting unqualified people as Pag-Ibig members under the special working group program and making them sign public documents in exchange for cash to obtain loans from Pag-Ibig. After passing them off as real buyers, Globe Asiatique allegedly replaced them with other buyers through a double sale scheme.
Lawyer Darlene Berberabe, Pag-Ibig Fund president, said Globe Asiatique had wanted Pag-Ibig Fund to accept the replacement buyers.
“Pag-Ibig did not accept the replacement buyers because the original buyers (the alleged Pag-Ibig borrowers) were fake. To accept such replacements would mean covering up the fraud [committed by] Globe Asiatique,” Berberabe said.
But Lee’s lawyer said the fully paid for units were already considered the property of their owners and that there was no double sale because the membership status verification slip had come from Pag-Ibig Fund.
“The problem originated with Pag-Ibig,” Rivera said. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon