WHAT WENT BEFORE: Globe Asiatique housing scam
The multibillion-peso scam involving Globe Asiatique housing loans erupted eight years ago.
In August 2010, the Inquirer ran a two-part series about the anomalous scheme which involved the Home Development Mutual Fund, also known as the Pag-Ibig Fund, granting loans to ghost borrowers who allegedly bought housing units of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. in Pampanga province.
Several Pag-Ibig Fund employees blew the lid on the scam, saying Globe Asiatique allegedly paid people to enroll themselves as Pag-Ibig members under the so-called Special Working Group program to avail themselves of the housing loans.
Documents obtained by the Inquirer showed that between March 2008 and August 2010, Globe Asiatique took out P7.031 billion worth of loans from Pag-Ibig on behalf of more than 9,000 Pampanga applicants for its Xevera Homes in Bacolor and Mabalacat towns.
The houses, it turned out, were not in the names of the “special buyers,” or the 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.
Delfin Lee, Globe Asiatique president and owner, has denied allegations of wrongdoing.
In August 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the filing of a complaint for syndicated estafa against Lee, his son Dexter Lee, Globe Asiatique officers Christina Sagun and Cristina Salagan, and Pag-Ibig official Alex Alvarez.
But before the DOJ could file the criminal case against Lee, Judge Rolando Mislang of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) issued an injunction, agreeing with Lee that an existing “prejudicial question” must first be resolved before the department could pursue its complaint.
In April 2012, the Court of Appeals struck down the Pasig City RTC order, saying that 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.”
The DOJ, with approval from the Court of Appeals, then filed the case for syndicated estafa in the Pampanga RTC.
In May 2012, Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the Pampanga RTC Branch 42 issued a warrant of arrest for Lee and his coaccused.
On March 6, 2014, after hiding for two years, Lee was arrested at a five-star hotel in Manila. —Compiled by Ana Roa / Inquirer Research
SOURCE: INQUIRER ARCHIVES
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