In August 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the filing of a syndicated estafa case against Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. owner Delfin Lee, his son Dexter Lee, Globe Asiatique officers Christina Sagun and Cristina Salagan and Pag-Ibig Fund official Alex Alvarez.
The case stemmed from the use of allegedly anomalous loans amounting to over P7.03 billion granted by the Home Development Mutual Fund, also known as the Pag-Ibig Fund, to “ghost borrowers” who had allegedly bought properties Globe Asiatique’s housing projects in Pampanga province.
Syndicated estafa is a nonbailable criminal offense and punishable by life imprisonment.
But before the DOJ could file charges against Lee, Pasig City Regional Trial Court Judge Rolando Mislang issued an injunction, agreeing with Lee that an existing “prejudicial question” must first be resolved before the DOJ could pursue the criminal complaint against Lee.
In April 2012, the Court of Appeals struck down the Pasig City RTC order, saying Judge Mislang committed a grave abuse of discretion and that “an injunction will not lie to enjoin a criminal prosecution because public interest requires that criminal acts be immediately investigated and protected for the protection of society.”
Following the ruling, Lee, in a petition for review, urged the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the DOJ and eventually overturn the Court of Appeals ruling.
On May 22, 2012, Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of Branch 42 of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, issued a warrant of arrest against Lee et al. in connection with the case.
Despite a nationwide manhunt and a P2-million reward by the government for information leading to his arrest, Lee remains a fugitive.
In October 2012, the Supreme Court denied Lee’s petition questioning his indictment for syndicated estafa. The high court said Lee had failed “to show any reversible error in the challenged decision as to warrant the exercise of the Court’s discretionary appellate jurisdiction.”—Inquirer Research
Source: Inquirer Archives