GLOBE Asiatique President Delfin Lee, who is facing syndicated estafa charges, will remain in jail, with his arrest validated by the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on Wednesday.
The SC’s ruling in effect nullifies the Court of Appeals’ earlier order quashing his arrest warrant.
The High Court’s order also stayed the appellate court from implementing its resolution clearing Lee of the charges of syndicated estafa.
The SC’s Third Division on Wednesday issued the TRO after Lee was brought to the CA the day before. The businessman questioned his arrest last week, saying it was illegal since the appellate court had quashed the warrant issued against him by Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes of Pampanga.
But SC spokesman Theodore Te said the High Court’s TRO overturns the CA resolution, rendering Lee’s arrest as valid.
The CA’s resolution was issued by Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., chairman of the SC’s Third Division, with concurrence from Justices Diosdado Peralta, Jose Catral Mendoza and Marvic Leonen.
“The TRO is effective immediately and continuing until further orders from the Court,” Te said.
In the resolution issued in November last year, the CA reversed the findings of the Pampanga Regional Trial Court against Lee. The appeals court absolved Lee from the crime of syndicated estafa and ordered the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop his arrest.
The case against Lee, his son Dexter and several others stemmed from the anomalous loans amounting to more than P7 billion granted by Pag-IBIG Fund to “ghost borrowers” of Lee’s Xevera Housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
The court held that “for estafa to have been committed by a syndicate, the act must be committed by five or more persons.”
In the meantime, the CA Special Division will continue to hear the petition for habeas corpus filed by the businessman.
The CA division, composed of Justices Normandie Pizarro, Manuel Barrio and Stephen Cruz received the comment of the government through the Office of the Solicitor General.
Assistant Solicitor General Hermes Ocampo maintained that Lee should stay in jail because the appeal’s court ruling is not yet final and executory.
Lee’s camp, through lawyer Ronnie Garay, had insisted that the GA boss’ detention was illegal because there was no valid warrant of arrest.
Lee was presented before the appellate court yesterday amid tight security.
Meanwhile, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Malacanang welcomes the move of the House of Representatives to conduct an investigation into the housing scam.
“It’s within their jurisdiction to choose, if they choose to do so,” Lacierda said. “If the House [of Representatives]would prefer to also conduct their own investigation, of course, it is their prerogative to do so.”
“Siguro in aid of legislation ‘yung gagawin nilang investigation . Kasi, as far as we know, there’s already a criminal case that has been filed [Maybe they will conduct an investigation in aid of legislation because as far as we know, there’s already a criminal case that has been filed],” he added.
With Catherine Valente