PNP, NBI told: Present Delfin Lee at CA

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

(UPDATED) Detained businessman Delfin Lee will have to show up at the Court of Appeals (CA) on Wednesday as the justices will hear the authorities' justification for his arrest on March 6 in connection with his syndicated estafa case.

Acting on Lee's camp petition for writ of habeas corpus, the CA Special First Division ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to bring the businessman to the hearing at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The two-page resolution was signed by Associate Justices Manuel Barrios, Stephen Cruz and Normandie Pizarro.

Chief Superintendent Reuben Sindac, PNP spokesperson, said they will provide personnel who would ensure the security of Lee as he travels from Pampanga to the CA building in Manila.

"We will abide by the directive of the NBI kasi sa kanila pa din manggagaling ang major security, support lang ang PNP," he said.

Lee's lawyers maintained that he was illegally arrested by the police in the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila since the CA released a decision in November last year recalling the arrest warrant issued by Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the Pampanga Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 42.

The petition stated that the CA ruling was immediately executory, proof of which was the certification from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group's Warrant of Arrest Information System Section (WAISS) that Lee's name was deleted in the arrest warrant database on November 20, 2013.

Lee's camp asked the CA to order his release.

But the government stood by the arrest, arguing that the appellate court's decision is not yet final and executory because it was appealed with the Supreme Court (SC).

Meantime, the process of delisting the name of Lee from the list of most wanted persons was simply acknowledged but not completed, the PNP said.

In an interview, PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima said Lee remained in the roster of wanted persons until the time of his arrest in Manila on March 6.

Immediately after the arrest of Lee, his counsel said the warrant of arrest laid to his client was invalid as they have already submitted necessary documents, which would have supposedly removed the businessman from the list of wanted persons.

Purisima said as early as January 8, the PNP had already informed Lee's counsel, Emmanuel Pichay, that the PNP was already in the process of delisting Lee from the list of wanted persons following procedures set forth in the PNPI-3 Circular Nr 98-01 dated July 23, 1998.

However, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II instructed the PNP to conduct necessary investigation to identify the person responsible for the removal of Lee's name from the most wanted list.

On Monday, Lee's counsel showed a letter from the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group dated January 16 stating that "this group has already delisted or removed from the name Delfin S. Lee from our warrant of arrest information system database."

Roxas also denied role in delisting Lee from the list, saying that he did not receive any document from the PNP, which states the delisting request and that his role is limited in approving the names to be placed on the said list.

"Walang natanggap na request ang DILG galing sa PNP na nagtatanggal kay Delfin Lee sa listahan ng may warrant of arrest," he said

"Wala rin akong inaprubahan na request kaugnay sa nasabing isyu, at lalong wala akong pinahintulutan na tanggapan na tanggalin sa listahan ng may arrest warrant si Delfin Lee" he added.

On March 7, Vice President and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund or HDMF) chairman Jejomar Binay said certain influential people tried to prevent the arrest of Lee.

Lee, owner of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. (GA), is detained for allegedly securing P6.65 billion-loan from the Pag-Ibig using ghost borrowers who bought homes in GA's Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

He is currently detained at the Pampanga Provincial Jail in San Fernando City and will be arraigned on Friday.

Lee is also facing three syndicated estafa charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ), whose preliminary investigation will soon resume after the SC blocked the decisions of the CA and a Pasig court against the probe. (Sunnex)

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