Binay: Influential people try to stop Delfin Lee’s arrest

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Friday, March 7, 2014

VICE President Jejomar Binay on Friday revealed that "influential people" tried to stop the arrest of housing magnate Delfin Lee on Thursday night.

Binay declined to identify their names but said these people did not only prevent policemen from getting Lee at the Hyatt Hotel in Manila. They even shouted at the arresting officers.

"Nag sisisigaw pa," was how Binay described them in an interview with reporters.

According to Binay, these people insisted that Lee cannot be arrested as the case against him has already been quashed when the Court of Appeals (CA) ordered Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the Pampanga Regional Trial Court branch 42 to recall the arrest warrant. The government then elevated the case to the Supreme Court (SC).

"Ito 'yong pinapaniwala nila, at mga influential people pa ito a. Kagabi, talagang pwersahan. Sinasabi nila na wala ng kaso. Elementary naman ito sa isang abugado. Kung hindi pa final ang decision, hindi mo pa pwedeng i-execute. Habang nakabinbin nagpunta na nga sa Supreme Court," Binay said.

Lee is facing a P6.6 billion syndicated estafa case for allegedly defrauding members of Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-Ibig Fund. He was arrested after almost four years in hiding.

He was also one of the high-profile fugitives known as the "Big 5," with a P2 million bounty placed on his head by President Benigno Aquino III.

Binay, however, clarified that these "influential people" did not necessarily keep Lee in their custody. Thus, they cannot be charged for harboring a criminal.

"Ang harboring e nasa 'yong custody e," Binay said.

Binay, who is also a lawyer, said that for him the appeal filed before the Supreme Court has already rendered the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) invalid.

"Kanya-kanyang interpretasyon na lang ng batas. Pero ito, simple lang ang interpretasyon dito. Walang ng bisa ang desisyon ng Court of Appeals. Sinabi na ng Court of Appeals na nasa Supreme Court na ‘yan. So paano mo pa mapagdi-diinang hindi ka pwedeng arestuhin? Hindi pa naman naka-quash ang warrant of arrest," Binay said. (Jun M. Sarmiento/Sunnex)

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