PNP, too, thinks arrest warrant vs Lee valid
MANILA, Philippines–Despite questions on the legality of the arrest warrant issued for alleged real estate scammer Delfin Lee, the Philippine National Police stood by its validity on Friday.
PNP’s Task Force Tugis and Manila Police District personnel served the warrant of arrest and collared Lee at the lobby of Hyatt Hotel in Malate, Manila Thursday night on charges of syndicated estafa.
But hours after his arrest, Lee’s counsel Gilbert Repizo questioned the validity of the arrest warrant, saying the Court of Appeals previously reversed the ruling of the Pampanga Regional Trial Court issuing an arrest order for Lee and four others.
In 2013, the appellate court ordered the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation to stop manhunt operation against Lee, saying there was no probable cause to order his arrest.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Friday the arrest warrant against Lee “still subsists in light of their pending petition before the Supreme Court questioning the CA’s decision quashing the said warrant.”
Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office chief, told INQUIRER.net that the PNP stands by the validity of the arrest warrant.
When Lee returned his warrant of arrest to its court of origin earlier Friday, the defense counsel argued that the warrant has been “recalled and no longer valid.”
But the prosecution panel maintained that the warrant against the Globe Asiatique magnate remains to be “valid and subsisting.”
The San Fernando Pampanga RTC ordered both the defense and prosecution to submit within five days their written positions on the matter.
“As far as the PNP is concerned, what we hold on to is the warrant. And we believe that it is valid and it still stands,” Sindac said.
He pointed out that the PNP will not meddle with the legal aspect of the arrest warrant the Task Force Tugis and MPD personnel served to Lee.
The fact that the San Fernando RTC issued a commitment order detaining Lee at the NBI Central Luzon Regional Office, Sindac said, “that upholds the arrest warrant.”
Although the PNP has no leads yet on the whereabouts of Lee’s cohorts, Sindac said the manhunt operation against the other accused, including Lee’s son Dexter, would continue.
“Tuloy tuloy pa rin ito. We will not stop here,” he said.
Asked what to expect following Lee’s arrest, he said the police would wait for the next order the San Fernando, Pampanga RTC would issue.
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