The warrant of arrest against Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. president Delfin Lee remains in effect, despite a recent Court of Appeals ruling clearing him in the syndicate estafa case involving allegedly anomalous P6.6-billion housing projects in Pampanga through loans from Pag-IBIG Fund (Home Development Mutual Fund).
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima made the statement following the decision of the CA’s Special 15th Division, which stopped the prosecution of Lee and quashed the arrest warrant issued by a Pampanga regional trial court.
De Lima said that the CA decision is not yet final and executory.
“We take the position that the warrant of arrest against Delfin Lee still stands since the resolution of the Court of Appeals has not attained finality yet,” the Justice Secretary said.
De Lima said the Department of Justice, through the office of the solicitor general, would appeal the decision through a motion for reconsideration.
The DOJ had listed Lee in its “Big Six,” a list of prominent fugitives being hunted down by authorities in connection to high-profile cases.
As this developed, Vice President Jejomar Binay ordered the HDMF to file an appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision.
Binay said he has directed Pag-IBIG fund chief executive officer Darlene Marie Barberabe to confer with the DOJ and the Office of the Solicitor General and immediately file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
“This is a most unfortunate decision. But we are confident that we have a strong case against Mr. Lee,” Binay said.
Binay added that he would not stop the fight for justice for the Filipinos victimized by Lee.
“We will pursue our fight for justice for the ordinary Filipino workers. We will exhaust all legal remedies to ensure that the homeowners who were defrauded by Globe Asiatique and victimized by Mr. Lee will be given justice.”
Binay is the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and chair of the Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees.
In a 29-page decision penned by Associate Justice Franchito Diamante and concurred in by Associate Justices Agnes Reyes-Carpio and Melchor Sadang, the CA said that “for estafa to have been committed by a syndicate, the act must be committed by five or more persons.”
“Consequently, the warrant of arrest issued against petitioner (Lee) is hereby quashed, recalled and lifted,” the court ruled.
The CA previously dismissed the case filed against Cristina Sagun, former head of GA’s documentation department and Lee’s co-accused in the syndicated estafa case filed by the DOJ, finding no probable cause.
The Regional Trial Court of Pampanga originally ordered the arrest of Delfin and Dexter Lee and their co-accused upon the finding sufficient evidence to try them for syndicated estafa, a non-bailable offense. With Sara Susanne Fabunan