Delfin Lee moved to Pampanga jail

Posted at 03/10/14 7:14 PM

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

The court ordered that Lee, who is facing syndicated estafa charges for the multibillion-peso Globe Asiatique (GA) housing scam, be moved from the National Bureau of Investigation's (NBI) custodial center to the provincial jail.

An NBI official in Pampanga welcomed the court's decision, saying the provincial jail is more suited to detain Lee.

The source added that the NBI does not want to be seen as giving special treatment to the embattled property developer.

Earlier Monday, Lee's camp filed a petition at the Court of Appeals questioning his arrest.

They also asked the appellate court to order the Pampanga RTC, which is handling the syndicated estafa case, to immediately release him.

Lee's camp insists the warrant issued by the trial court for his arrest was quashed by the appellate court's decision last November, 2013.

His lawyers also said he has been delisted from the PNP's "wanted" list.

SC greenlights DOJ probe

Meantime, the Supreme Court (SC) has given the Department of Justice (DOJ) the green light to proceed with the preliminary investigation of 3 more syndicated estafa complaints against Lee, GA's president and founder.

The high court's Second Division, through Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) last March 3, 3 days before Lee was arrested in Manila, against Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 167 Judge Rolando Mislang, who, on April 10, 2013, enjoined the DOJ from proceeding with its preliminary investigation into the 3 complaints.

The DOJ elevated the case to the Court of Appeals but lost due to a mere technicality -- for having filed the petition out of time.

As ground for the issuance of the TRO, the SC said that "Mislang's order is material and substantial invasion of the right of petitioner DOJ to continue with its power and function to investigate crimes and prosecute offenders, and thus hamper the administration of justice, and in order not to render moot and academic this petition and to prevent irreparable injury upon the petitioner (DOJ) who may be prevented from performing its legally mandated duty to protect public interest in case an injunction writ will not be issued."

In short, the SC is recognizing the DOJ's authority and mandate to conduct preliminary investigations of alleged criminal offenses.

Lee and several other GA officials were slapped with several syndicated estafa charges in 2010 in connection with alleged anomalous loans amounting to P6.6 billion granted to "ghost" borrowers for GA's Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

The first complaint landed in the Pampanga trial court, which ordered Lee's arrest for this non-bailable offense.

The CA is also covered by SC TRO.

The SC directed the CA and Mislang to comment on the DOJ petition within 10 days. - reports from Chiara Zambrano and Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News; ANC