CA ruling on fugitive Lee to be challenged

A+
A
A-

The government will challenge in the Supreme Court the Court of Appeals’ dismissal of the syndicated estafa charge against a coaccused of fugitive Globe Asiatique president Delfin Lee, Malacañang said Monday.

The syndicated estafa charge against Cristina Sagun was downgraded to simple estafa after she was dropped from the case, a development that would allow Lee, who has been in hiding to avoid arrest, to post bail.

Lee may surface after the Court of Appeals ordered on Feb. 11 to quash the information for syndicated estafa against one of his coaccused, his lawyer said on Monday.

“We spoke to [Justice] Secretary [Leila] de Lima this morning and the government intends to pursue the case. We are challenging the decision of the Court of Appeals in the Supreme Court,” Undersecretary Abigail Valte, the deputy presidential spokesperson, said in a briefing.

De Lima said the Department of Justice (DOJ) would bring the case to the high court even if her department had yet to receive on Monday a copy of the latest appellate court ruling.

“But my instructions are for the DOJ, through the OSG (Office of the Solicitor General), to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court,” De Lima said in a text message.

The syndicated estafa charge involved billions of pesos in allegedly anomalous loans that Lee’s company, Globe Asiatique, obtained from the government for a housing project in Pampanga province.

Globe Asiatique was accused of using “ghost borrowers” and fake documents to obtain more than P6.5 billion in loans from Pag-Ibig (Home Development Mutual Fund), for its Xevera housing project in Mabalacat and Bacolor towns.

‘Grave injustice’

Vice President Jejomar Binay said the appellate court’s resolution brought “grave injustice” to the victims of the alleged scam.

Binay ordered Pag-Ibig, which he chairs, to coordinate with the DOJ and the OSG and file an appeal in the Supreme Court.

The DOJ has 60 days to get a temporary restraining order against the appellate court ruling.

“We owe it not only to the victims of Delfin Lee but to all the members of Pag-Ibig to pursue the case,” Binay said in a statement. “Those who are responsible for this scam should be brought to justice,” he said.

Pag-Ibig cap exceeded

Documents showed that Globe Asiatique took out P7.031 billion for 9,951 housing loan accounts from the Pag-Ibig Fund from March 2008 to August 2010. The amount exceeded the P500-million annual cap given by Pag-Ibig to its accredited developers.

The houses, it turned out, were in the names of “special buyers” or people who were paid to take out the loans. The contracts and titles were supposed to be amended to bear the name of the real buyers.

This scheme was reportedly hidden because it was Globe Asiatique that collected the amortization supposedly paid by the buyers. The scam surfaced when many of the houses were left unoccupied or were found being used by other people and not the legitimate buyers.

Case dismissed

The appellate court’s 10th Division has affirmed its October 2012 dismissing the syndicated estafa case filed by Pag-Ibig against Sagun, former head of Globe Asiatique’s documentation department, in a regional trial court in San Fernando, Pampanga.

The appellate court, in effect, denied with finality the motion filed by the OSG seeking a reconsideration of its Oct. 5, 2012, ruling.

Recall arrest warrant

“The pronouncement is without prejudice to the filing by the Department of Justice of other appropriate criminal charges, if warranted, against the other accused,” said the appellate court ruling penned by Associate Justice Angelita Gacutan.

The court also made it clear that not only must the warrant of arrest be recalled but the information for syndicated estafa must be quashed “since only one information was filed against all the accused.”

The ruling covered Lee, his son Dexter, Globe Asiatique chief accountant Cristina Salagan and Pag-Ibig lawyer Alex Alvarez.

The appellate court ruled last year that the DOJ committed grave abuse of discretion by including Sagun in the case, pointing out that her job consisted of checking documents and verifying information about borrowers, hence, it was ministerial.

With the dismissal of the charges against Sagun, the number of accused is down to four, effectively downgrading the syndicated estafa case to simple estafa, a bailable offense.

Five accused are needed for a syndicated estafa case to proceed.

Palace dismayed

Valte said Malacañang was dismayed by the appellate court’s ruling, but would respect it.

“Of course we’re disappointed because our position is to prosecute the accused. But it doesn’t mean that we will not respect the decision. In fact, we’re taking the appropriate legal remedies against the decision.

“But you also understand the sentiment of the victims of the scam because if you’re a victim, it’s hard to understand the technicality in the case. So, we are pursuing the case for the government,” Valte said.

While there’s a P2-million reward for information leading to the arrest of Lee, Valte acknowledged that fugitives like the housing developer have “resources” to evade the authorities.

Lee may surface

Willie Rivera, Lee’s lawyer, said his client “benefited” from the appellate court’s Feb. 11 resolution favoring Sagun.

“Yes, Mr. Delfin Lee may appear,” Rivera told the Inquirer on Monday.

But he said Lee would surface only if Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the City of San Fernando Regional Trial Court Branch 42 would comply with the Feb. 11 order of the appellate court to quash the information for syndicated estafa and recall and lift the arrest warrant.

Immediate compliance

“The rule is immediate compliance. Otherwise, [Reyes] could be charged administratively or face contempt,” Rivera said.

It was in May 2012 when Reyes found probable cause for syndicated estafa and ordered the arrest of Lee and his coaccused.

When there is no more syndicated estafa case, Lee can post bail, Rivera said.

Reyes could not be reached for comment on Monday because she was attending a five-day training program.—With a report from Christine O. Avendaño

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Guest

    This should come as no surprise.

    The President and CEO of Pag-ibig Fund, Miro Quimbo, who approved the P7 billion loan to Globe Asiatique scam as never charged by Ombudsman Morales despite the recommendation of DOJ in late 2011. Many more are expected to get off the hook, as we go down this slipper slope called Daang Matuwid.

    Here’s a short video and other references for all taxpayers’ and Pag-ibig fund contributors to enjoy. Miro Quimbo and his Globe Asiatique scam.

    01. youtube,com/watch?v=AjjJmYE-dF0

    02. abs-cbnnews,com/business/08/24/11/doj-indicts-globe-asiatique-syndicated-estafa

    03. abs-cbnnews,com/global-filipino/06/14/12/pag-ibig-ceo-hits-non-arrest-delfin-lee

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W7TPARCYJFCSA3PBQAM3MVZO3E kurakut

      ANO ANG ROLE/PAPEL NI JOJO BINAY SA KASONG ITO?  MAY POLITICS BA?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001464201390 Aina Enriquez

        Si Binay ba? Sino ba VP nung panahong namayagpag si Delfin Lee?

      • patawad

        Sino pa eh di si Noli de Castro, si Mr Kabayad!!!!!

      • disqus_F7NxgCOapC

         Si KAbayad Lino

      • Guest

        Si Binay ang kasalukuyang chair ng board sa Pag-ibig Fund.

        Binay does not want to be openly confrontational with LP and PNoy, kaya hindi niya inuungkat ang kaso ni Miro Quimbo. Sa 2016 pa siguro makakasuhan si mokong.

  • Hey_Dudes

    Nagkabayaran na naman namputcha naman oo.

  • kalealaskador

    There is something very wrong with our justice system. Criminals with money can get away with anything!

    It is time to practice “extra judicial” methods. Maybe the NPA will do this for us!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/55XNXOYBNF6BG3EWOM5V4YMWXM Pedro

    KWARTA  NA  NAMAN  ANG  GUMALAW  SA  KASO  NA ITO.  KAWAWANG  PILIPINAS. . .DAMI  PA  RING  CORRUPT. . .

  • abbaj

    HONORABLE GACUTAN, MAGKANO BA ANG NAKUHA MO SA KURAKUTAN? ANG TINDI MO BABAE, KAYA MONG IPAKAIN SA MGA ANAK ANG MADUMING PERA NI DELFIN LEE. TSK TSK! DAPAT I-ABOLISH NA YANG COURT OF APPEALS, ANG DAMING BUWAYA DYAN.

  • patawad

    Kaya nga ang kurakutan, di na milyoes, bilyones na at kung pwede trilyones, para may pangbayad sa yong kalayaan!  

    Susme, hanggang ngayon pala fugitive pa yang si Delfin Lee, eh ga graduate na si Abnoy, wala pang nangyayari.  Siguro lima pang presidente bago may mangyari, by but time, patay na tong tao!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/6KAYREL5UVQ2UOPDFGVLGKQZ6Y Kh Ryan

      Whether you like it or not justice system is hijacked by syndicate; anjan ang padrino padrino anjan ang fraternity na brotherhood… kung hahalungkatin mo kung bakit nagkakaroon ng suhulan jan at nadidismiss ang mga kaso ay dahil sa tibay ng kanilang brotherhood bilang kasapi sa iisang gropo……………maliban pa jan sympre pera ang pinapagulong…. Look at the San bida case sa hazing, oh ano na ang nangyari/ baka maibabaon na sa limot….ganoon kabagal ang justice system sa atin dahil nga sa SINASADYA pabagalin para madismiss ang kaso sa bandang huli pag wala na a ng media……………

  • Horst Manure

    When you have a DOJ as phoney as a glass eye what more can you expect .no one keeps any records of who owns what and 2 different people can own the same piece of land.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_44QGTQXFYHNVPNMX453LWBPMXM Opel

    somebody already got their retirement planned, regardless of the P7 billion loss to the government, garapalan talaga. tsk tsk tsk. d masyado napapansin mga bwuakaw na hues at abugado kaya bulsa parin ng bulsa. sobra sobra na laki law firm ni satanas. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Lynel-F-Joven/685946584 Charles Lynel F. Joven

    The Court Of Appeals is filled with so many crooks in robes…you are a disgrace…..!!!!!!

  • ztefertilizerscam10

    .Noli De Castro P6.6 billion pesos Pag-ibig Fund scam.

    • tarikan

      Tingnan mo yang mga coat ni Kabayang NoLee suot sa TV Patrol. Gawa ng Globe-Asiatique yata ang mga iyon. Bukod sa real estate may patahi-an pa. 

  • azkal futbol

    walang kwenta namang ikaso ang mga ganitong bagay. i-request na lang sa NPA na barilin si delfin lee at lahat ng umabswelto sa kaso. patahimikin na lang ang mga nagpapahirap sa bayan, dahil lulusot at lulusot yan sa korte. pati tiwaling judge, itumba na rin

    • tarikan

      Ka azkal, matagal nang nd ginagawa nila Kaka ito kasi walang mahihita sila dyan. Busy sila ngayon sa koleksyon ng revolutionary tax at permit to campaign…maraming datung dyan. 

  • indiosbravos2002

    Hulihin yang si Delfin Lee ng Pulis maynila, isakay sa police car at sabihing nang-agaw ng baril.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Bantayang maigi yang justice ng court of appeals, pati asawa at anak nya. Paglumaki pera sa bangko. Kasuhan ng graft and corruption.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WT5ZX5O7ZBC6Z3LXFA4UIQZC3I emajega

    pagbawalan ang mga intsik na makipag transact sa gobyerno, sigurado kasing may anumalyang kasama ito. kapag may apelyedong intsik dapat maging alerto na ang ombudsman na may kadikit na daya ito. Wag na tayong magbulag-bulagan. SAnay talaga ang mga intsik sa katiwalian nahawa lang tayong Pinoy.

    May record ngan lumabas noong panahon ng kastila na ang mga intsik ang nagtuturo sa mga pinoy ng mga kalaswaan sa sex, pati pagpatol sa kapwa kapamilya. Kaya nag-utos ang hari ng Espanya na ihiwalay ang mga intsik sa mga katutubong pinoy ng di mahawa sa kababuyan nila. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YXF5QOV65XHXJTQB4R6SEOGUCU gilbert

    pati si noli de castro ipakulong nyo, sa dami ng pera nakuha nila, sure na pati batas kaya nilang bayaran, sa pinas pa …..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YXF5QOV65XHXJTQB4R6SEOGUCU gilbert

    kaya nga court of appeals, kc yan ang salaan ng mga desisyong di gusto ng nasantensyahan,nanjan ang pera …

    • tarikan

      Tumpak ka dyan gilbert. Sa CA kaunti lang sila kaya nakakamura (nd yung P.I. kundi yun pesos) ka pa. Pagdating sa SC ibang usapan na yun kasi marami na sila. 

  • tarikan

    “Those who are responsible for this scam should be brought to justice,” VP Binay said. Take note Kabayan NoLee. “Yes, Mr. Delfin Lee may appear,” Rivera (Delfin Lee’s lawyer) told the Inquirer on Monday. If a fugitive’s lawyer knows the whereabouts of the fugitive, isn’t he (the lawyer) responsible under the law? The principle of lawyer-client confidentiality, I think, only pertains to the communication between the two. Harboring a fugitive by anybody is clearly an obstruction of justice. Any answer, lawyers around here?

  • Jim De Garman

    yumaman ang mga CA justices na humawak ng kaso ng globe asiatique dahil sa bayaran.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AS7ZS3RG454EKLDPVX3UR3MLGE rick

    kung ministerial lang po? hindi ho ba si sagun ang mayhawak ng lahat ng mga pagchecheck ng mga documentong ito? ibig sabihin ay alam niya ang lahat ng tungkol sa dokumento so hindi pwedeng sabihin na di niya alam yun. kung hindi siya indispensable eh bakit po siya lang ang pinapagawa pinagawa ang mga pagsusuri ng mga dokumento at sa kanya lang po? bakit di ipagawa rin yung trabaho niya sa iba? di kaya kasi siya lang ang pinagkakatiwalaan na gawin yung mga alanganing transaksyon na yan? di po ba ” a conspiracy exist when 2 or more person come to an agreement to commit a felony and decide to commit it?”

  • Lapu Lapu

    Favorable Decisions for Sale if the Price is Right.

    If you have money, influence and the connections you will never go to jail no matter what crime you have committed. ( * Applicable in the Philippines only)

  • legislex

    Money surely was the factor for the downgrading by the Court of Appeals.  The quantum of evidence in filing cases against the accused is only probable cause, and not proof beyond reasonable doubt.  There are evidence pointing to the active participation of Cristina Sagun in the fraud.  The Court of Appeals should have allowed the prosecution to present its evidence before the trial court instead of making a prejudgment on the case. Pag pera ang umandar ang taga korte siguradong susunod.

  • otoling

    Talagang mukhang pera at pera ang mga kort judges natin sa CA. 

    Hinde mo malaman kung anong kokote sila at kung saan nila kinukuha ang wisdom na kanilang pag-aaral sa isang kaso.  Mga utak nila ay utak ahas tulad ni Corona, “baka puedeng makalusot”.

  • otoling

    Bilyones na pera ang bayaran na ine-offer dito nila Lee et al sa court judges at associates.

    Nakapag-unang bayad na siguro ito kaya ganito, meron nang serious komitment to bastardize extrabagant the people of the PH.

  • boybakal

    Globe Asiatique was running smoothly.
    They built beautiful homes at a reasonable prices. The homes were there, you can see them.
    They are gated and looked classy.
    The homes are fist class compared to other subdivisions.
    Homeowners are living happy and enjoying the investment they bought on the homes.

    Globe was not able to continue the maintenance as PagIbig stopped the payment of homeowners and the release of loans.
    How could it operate if no financial operation.
    In short, it boils down to PagIbig on their wrong action and charged the Globe.
    Billions are spent, billions are loaned but this Pag Ibig stopped the operation.
    It is all fault of the PagIbig officials….they should be the one charged of Syndicated Estafa or Plunder.

  • Mario_Garcia

    The fault should be on PAG-IBIG not doing the due diligence part of granting a loan.

  • $14334231

    justice leonen…..here’s your first test….prove your sincerityand advocacy that nobody is above the law…..

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94