Delfin Lee still in jail despite case downgrade
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Realtor Delfin Lee, president of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp., is still detained at the Pampanga provincial jail here, almost a month after the Supreme Court (SC) downgraded his syndicated estafa case to simple estafa for a P7-billion housing scam that state auditors uncovered in 2010.
The SC order allowed Lee to file bail.
But Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 here preferred to wait for an official copy of the high court’s decision that spokesperson Theodore Te announced in a news briefing on July 31, Lee’s lawyer, Willie Rivera, said on Tuesday.
The SC issued the order after it dismissed the 2014 petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund), which sought to reverse the Court of Appeals’ ruling that amended Lee’s charge to simple estafa.
Because similar charges against Pag-Ibig Fund foreclosure manager Alex Alvarez and Globe Asiatique documentation head Christina Sagun were dismissed, the appeals court concluded that a syndicated estafa complaint could only be pursued if there were at least five participants.
Rivera said he asked the RTC to “take judicial notice of the [high tribunal’s] order … and fix the bail, but the judge would rather wait for the receipt of the order.”
Reached by the Inquirer on Wednesday, Te said he was not sure if the decision had been released to the RTC Branch 42.
Rivera said Reyes had suspended all proceedings in the case against Lee until the second week of September.
The DOJ has not yet amended the information because it also has not received an official copy of the order from the high court, Rivera said.
The provincial warden, Edwin Mangaliman, on Wednesday confirmed that Lee was still at the Pampanga jail.
Lee was arrested on March 6, 2014, or two years since Reyes issued arrest warrants for him and his fellow accused.
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