Morales: Lee should be presumed innocent

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MABALACAT CITY -- Mayor Marino "Boking" Morales said that Delfin Lee, who was arrested for syndicated estafa, should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The mayor said presumption of innocence under the law is paramount.

"Like all accused, Delfin Lee should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise," he said.


"His being brought before the bar of justice should be welcomed by Mr. Lee and his accusers because now either side has the opportunity to prove its case before a court of law rather than before a non-judicial forum such as a newspaper or talk show, to avoid trial by publicity," Morales added.

The mayor disclosed that Lee is a personal friend and will always remain one regardless of the findings of the court during and after the trial.

He said that Lee donated to Mabalacat a town hall to replace the old and cramped one.

"We gladly accepted his offer because it was at no cost to the government. Today, that government center has allowed us to render service better and more efficiently than the old one," Morales said.

Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday welcomed the order of the Pampanga Regional Trial Court transferring Lee from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to a provincial jail.

"I gladly welcome the decision of the Pampanga Regional Trial Court Branch 42 to transfer Delfin Lee to the Pampanga Provincial Jail," Binay said.

"Lee has swindled Pag-IBIG Fund of almost P7 billion worth of housing loans and robbed thousands of Filipino families of their dream to have their own homes. He should not be given any special treatment," he added.

Lee was transferred to the Pampanga Provincial Jail Monday after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in San Fernando, Pampanga reset his arraignment Friday.

“Members of Pag-IBIG, especially those defrauded in the Globe Asiatique scam, can be rest assured that we will fight any and all efforts to release Lee. We will make sure that Lee and his cohorts will be punished for their crime, and the victims will be given the justice they deserve,” Binay said.

Binay said there is nothing to worry about the order of the Court of Appeals (CA) First Division granting the petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus filed by Lee and his camp.

The writ directed authorities to present Lee to the court at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

“It's procedural. A petition was filed and the petition shall be heard. That's all. In the course of the hearing of the petition, the body of the petitioner is required to be brought to the court," Binay said.

“I am confident the court will not grant the petition to release Delfin Lee,” he added.

Binay is the chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and chairman of the Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees.

The Vice President ordered the filing of syndicated estafa charges against Lee and several Globe Asiatique officials in December 2010 after an investigation he ordered revealed that Lee used fake documents and ghost borrowers who supposedly bought homes in Globe Asiatique’s Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga, to secure almost P7 billion in loans from Pag-IBIG Fund.

President Benigno S. Aquino III previously set a P2-million reward for information leading to Lee’s arrest.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 13, 2014.

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