CA junks Lee’s habeas corpus plea

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

MANILA -- The Court of Appeals (CA) junked on Thursday the petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by housing scam leader Delfin Lee aimed at releasing him from jail.

In an eight-page resolution, the CA said Lee’s petition has been mooted by the Supreme Court’s (SC) temporary restraining order (TRO) on the appellate court’s November 2013 ruling quashing the validity of the arrest warrant issued by a Pampanga judge in 2012.

“In short, petitioner Delfin Lee cannot invoke this Court’s ruling on account of the specific injunction issued by the Supreme Court and thus, the second alias warrant of arrest that was executed against petitioner has maintained its efficacy,” the CA Special First Division said.

The second alias warrant dated August 7, 2013 was not covered by the decision by the CA Former Special 15th Division, which was the subject of the government’s appeal with the SC Third Division.

Appellate court justices heard Lee’s petition on Wednesday as his lawyers said Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the Pampanga Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 42 should not hear the case against the businessman since another CA division recalled his arrest warrant for syndicated estafa, a non-bailable offense.

But the government maintained that the arrest warrant is still alive pending resolution of the appeal before the High Court.

Lee, president of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. (GA), was apprehended outside the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila on March 6 and is currently detained at the Pampanga Provincial Jail.

He will be arraigned on Friday for allegedly using ghost borrowers and fake documents to secure P6.65 billion-loan from the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund or HDMF) for GA’s Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

Lee is also facing three more batches of syndicated estafa before the Department of Justice. (Sunnex)

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