Housing fund questions injunction favoring Globe AsiatiqueBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – The Home Development Mutual Fund, better known as Pag-Ibig Fund, haled to the Supreme Court on Tuesday a Pasig City regional trial court judge who prevented the Department of Justice from indicting Delfin Lee, owner of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp.
In an administrative complaint, Pag-Ibig lawyer Jose Roberto Po accused Pasig RTC Branch 167 Judge Rolando Mislang of gross ignorance of the law, grave misconduct and “knowingly rendering an unjust order” in issuing two temporary restraining orders favoring Lee last month.
“These TROs only delay the administration of justice in this case,” Po told reporters after filing the complaint at the Office of the Court Administrator.
The lawyer said the filing of the case was pursuant to the directive of Vice President Jejomar Binay, also the chairman of the Pag-Ibig board of trustees and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
The first TRO, released on August 16, stopped state prosecutors from conducting a preliminary investigation on the second criminal complaint filed at the DoJ against Lee.
Mislang also granted Lee’s petition for TRO on August 26 – the very same day it was filed. The order stymied the filing of a syndicated estafa (Fraud) case against Lee, his son Dexter and three others in connection with the alleged anomalous P6.65 billion loans that Pag-Ibig granted to “ghost borrowers” who supposedly had bought units in Globe Asiatique’s housing project in Pampanga.
Po said Mislang’s acts were a violation of Article 206 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act because he caused “undue injury to any party, including the government.”
“Verily, all of these are serious charges under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court,” Po said, adding that the judge erred when he issued an injunctive order without requiring Lee to post a bond.
He also noted that the DoJ panel had thrown out Lee’s attempt to stop the preliminary investigation against him due to a “prejudicial question” regarding the civil case that the real estate businessman had previously filed against Pag-Ibig in Makati City.
Lee raised the same issue of “prejudicial question” in his petition for the issuance of the TRO.
Worse, Po said, Mislang granted Lee’s petition “based on mere unsubstantiated allegations of Mr. Lee” since the businessman’s lawyers did not present a certified copy of the assailed DoJ resolution.
Lee, who was facing four separate criminal investigation at the DoJ, had denied all the charges against him and his company.
Jose Midas Marquez, Supreme Court spokesman and administrator, said he might render a decision on the complaint even without the separate administrative case that the DoJ was planning to file against Mislang.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima claimed Mislang “railroaded” the granting of the injunction since he decided on the petition without even reading the DoJ resolution issued by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva.
Marquez said he ordered the judge to submit an explanation on the circumstances of the issuance of the TROs based on his “personal assessment.”
“It would depend on the answer of the judge if it’s necessary for an investigation to be called…. But this complaint will be acted upon” immediately, the court official said.
Asked if Mislang could be preventively suspended, he said: “Let’s see if that would be called for. It’s very difficult [to say] at this time.”
“While we have preventively suspended some judges, I have yet to recall a judge who was suspended preventively for issuing a TRO,” he added.