Latest Stories

Judge on leave; court order on Globe Asiatique housing scam stalled

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—The implementation of a Court of Appeals order quashing the charges of syndicated estafa against a Globe Asiatique (GA) officer, Cristina Sagun, and recalling the arrest warrant against her has been delayed because the judge handling the case has yet to report for work.

The court order could save fugitive housing developer and GA president Delfin Lee and three others from prison as they would be allowed to post bail if the charges are reduced to simple estafa.

Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the Pampanga Regional Trial Court Branch 42, who is supposed to implement the appellate court’s Feb. 11 resolution, is on a five-day training course outside the province starting Feb. 18 and will not be back until Feb. 25.

It was Reyes who in May 2012 found probable cause to indict Sagun, the GA documentation chief, for syndicated estafa together with Lee, the latter’s son Dexter, GA accountant Cristina Salagan and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund) lawyer Alex Alvarez.

They were accused of using fake and ghost Pag-Ibig Fund members to avail of P7 billion in housing loans for GA’s Xevera projects in Bacolor and Mabalacat towns in Pampanga from 2008 to 2011.

President Aquino raised the reward for the arrest of Lee, who remains at large, to P2 million.

No probable cause

According to Lee’s lawyer, Willie Rivera, only a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court can stop Reyes from complying with the appellate court’s order. “It should be immediately implemented,” Rivera said.

With only four accused left, there is no more legal basis for syndicated estafa, he pointed out. The law requires five or more persons colluding to commit the crime of syndicated estafa.

“[There] is simply no probable cause to indict [Sagun] of the crime of syndicated estafa, nor is there sufficient evidence to prove her knowledge and/or participation in the alleged fraudulent acts of Globe Asiatique and its officers,” Associate Justice Angelita Gacutan wrote in the Feb. 11 resolution upholding her Oct. 5, 2012, resolution.

Sagun, she said, was “only guilty of not exercising her functions diligently and in a prudent manner.”

But the Department of Justice said it would pursue the syndicated estafa case and take the case to the Supreme Court.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has been harping on the Pag-Ibig Fund controversy, using it to attack Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, a former Pag-Ibig Fund president and chief executive officer who is now the Team PNoy spokesperson.

Being in LP a burden

Quimbo said his membership in the ruling Liberal Party did not give him immunity from any suit that may arise from the alleged scam.

“Membership in the LP, unlike other parties, serves as a burden to conduct oneself beyond reproach and follow the example of [President Aquino],” he said.

“From the beginning, I have always been strong in my condemnation of the fraud that Delfin Lee brought on the Pag-Ibig Fund and its members,” Quimbo said.

He claimed that the reported irregularities occurred after he was replaced as Pag-Ibig president and CEO in March 2009.—Tonette Orejas

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: court , Cristina Sagun , Globe Asiatique , housing scam , Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes , Philippines , syndicated estafa

Copyright © 2014, .
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
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  • Drilon, Nancy Binay urge Filipinos to strengthen faith
  • ‘Yolanda’ toll now at 6,300 – NDRRMC
  • ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  • Moderate earthquake jolts southern Iran
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • Netizens seething in anger over Aquino ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace