THE Court of Appeals (CA) has quashed an arrest warrant issued by a Pampanga court against Globe Asiatique (GA) corporate officer Dexter Lee in connection with housing loans of supposed members of the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), also known as Pag-IBIG Fund, through the use of fictitious buyers.
In a 21-page decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando and concurred in by Associate Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Stephen Cruz, the CA’s Fifth Division partly granted Lee’s petition as it annulled and set aside resolutions dated May 22, 2012 and August 22, 2012 of Branch 42 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pampanga.
Thus, the CA said, “the warrant of arrest issued against [Lee] is hereby quashed, recalled and lifted.”
“Furthermore, the [RTC], Branch 42 of San Fernando, Pampanga is directed to cease and desist from further proceeding with Criminal Case No. 18480 insofar as petitioner Dexter L. Lee is concerned.”
The case stemmed from a complaint-affidavit for syndicated estafa and economic sabotage filed before the National Bureau of Investigation by Emma Linda Faria, officer-in-charge of Pag-IBIG Fund, against key corporate officers of GA, petitioner Dexter, and his co-accused Delfin, and its other officers and employees.
This led to the filing of criminal charges by the Department of Justice, as well as the issuance of warrants of arrest against the accused.
Because of this, Dexter sought redress with the appellate court.
In its November 16, 2016 ruling that was released to the media just recently, the CA found that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the resolutions.
“Here, the respondent court acted whimsically in issuing the assailed resolutions. It miserably fell short in providing supporting evidence, other than the prosecutor’s bare report, upon which to legally sustain its own findings on the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the issuance of an arrest warrant,” the appellate court said.
“Moreover, all government agencies tasked [with]the enforcement of the warrant of arrest including but not limited to the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Immigration are immediately enjoined from implementing the said warrant,” the court added.
It explained that the local court failed to state the respective liabilities or the participation of each of the accused including Dexter in the alleged commission of syndicated estafa.
“Neither did the resolution state the crime committed by a syndicate of five or more persons in order to constitute the offense charged,” the court said.