Fugitive Delfin Lee nabbed at 5-star hotel | Inquirer News
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Fugitive Delfin Lee nabbed at 5-star hotel

Globe Asiatique developer Delfin Lee. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Fugitive real estate magnate Delfin Lee has been arrested by the police, the Inquirer learned Thursday night.

Chief Insp. Vanni Martinez, leader of Task Force Tugis that arrested Lee at Hyatt Regency Hotel and Casino on Pedro Gil Street in Manila’s Ermita district at 6:45 p.m., said the owner of property developer GlobeAsiatique Realty Holdings Corp. had been taken to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

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“Yes, we already have him in our custody,” Martinez told the Inquirer over the phone.

Lee has a price of P2 million on his head, ordered by President Aquino in August 2012 amid criticism of the government’s inability to find high-profile fugitives.

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The President also put up a bounty of P2 million for each of retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, and former Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr.

On May 22, 2012, Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of Branch 42 of Pampanga Regional Trial Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Lee, his son Dexter and three officers of GlobeAsiatique for syndicated estafa, a nonbailable crime, in connection with two housing projects in Pampanga province.

The National Bureau of Investigation and the PNP launched a manhunt for Lee and his coaccused.

The case stemmed from the alleged use of fictitious members of Pag-Ibig Fund, or Home Development Mutual Fund, to defraud the agency of P7 billion in housing loans to be used in GlobeAsiatique’s projects in Bacolor and Mabalacat towns in Pampanga from 2008 to 2011.

In March last year, Judge Reyes issued a hold-departure order to stop Lee, Christina Sagun, Dexter Lee, Cristina Salagan and Pag-Ibig Fund lawyer Alex Alvarez from fleeing the country.

Lee was reported to have been cleared by the Court of Appeals, but Martinez said the Pampanga court had not lifted the warrant for the fugitive’s arrest.

Martinez said Lee was in a meeting with his lawyer and business associates at the hotel lobby when he was arrested.

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“Mr. Lee had been under surveillance for several months,” Martinez said.

“We had information about his whereabouts, but it was not until last night that we were able to locate his exact location,” he said.

Asked if Lee’s companions were also arrested for harboring a criminal, Martinez said: “No. Only Lee was arrested.”

He said it was unclear whether Lee had left the country to evade arrest.

“[We hope to] get that information during the [interrogation],” he said.

Martinez said Lee “looked the same” since he was last seen in public during the hearing of the multiple estafa case filed against him in the Department of Justice.

“He does not look older. He does not look like he has lost weight,” Martinez said.

Originally posted at 8:17 pm | Thursday, March 6, 2014

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TAGS: Crime, Delfin Lee, fugitives, Globe Asiatique, Police, Vanni Martinez
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