Delfin Lee asks SC for temporary liberty

Posted at 07/22/14 7:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Detained businessman Delfin Lee is asking the Supreme Court (SC) for an early resolution on his petition questioning his arrest and detention for syndicated estafa.

Lee’s camp is also asking the high court to consider granting “temporary liberty” and immediate release if the immediate resolution is not feasible.

Lee, the founder and president of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp., is currently detained at the Pampanga provincial jail for charges of syndicated estafa for allegedly defrauding the government of P6.6 billion in housing loan proceeds for home buyers, whom investigators later found to be fictitious or did not have complete documents.

But the businessman argued that his continued detention was in violation of his constitutional rights, saying there was no legal basis for his arrest.

Lee noted that the syndicated estafa case filed against him and his co-accused had already been terminated by the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the CA decision, but Lee said the TRO "merely maintained the status quo, [but] it did not revive the quashed information for syndicated estafa."

"Hence, there is no information for syndicated estafa, so to speak, for which herein respondents, specifically herein respondent (accused) Delfin S. Lee, may plead guilty or not guilty. Consequently, accused Delfin Lee's forced arraignment last March 14, 2014, by the Hon. Judge Ma. Amifaith S. Fider-Reyes Reyes and the proceedings conducted thereafter as well as the succeeding proceedings in Criminal Case No. 18480 are and will be void," Lee added.

Lee's camp earlier asked the CA to terminate a warrant issued by the Pampanga Regional Trial Court.

The CA granted the petition of Lee, but the SC enjoined the CA from implementing its order.