Delfin Lee to testify in Senate probe, says lawyer


The head of the senate committee on urban planning, housing and resettlement will make sure that Delfin Lee, the owner of the Globe Asiatique (GA) Realty Housing Corp., will be present once the panel resumes its hearing on the P6.6-billion housing fund scam in the middle of this.

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said that aside from Lee, former housing officials will also be summoned by the committee for them to explain the supposed “special arrangement” between the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-IBIG Fund and Lee’s company back in 2008.

Ejercito issued the assurance after receiving a letter from Lee’s camp about the plan of the committee to summon the businessman in the next hearing.

Lawyer Rony Garay, Lee’s head counsel, in a letter assured Ejercito that his client has expressed readiness to testify and vowed to fully cooperate with the committee.

Garay added that his client expressed belief that the committee would give him the opportunity to tackle the issues head-on and reply point by point to the unfounded allegations of HDMF against him and his company.

“We pledge not to invoke our constitutional right against self-incrimination in the Senate hearing as we remain steadfast in our stand that we have nothing to hide provided the questions are relevant and material to the issues at hand,” Lee stated in the letter, which was signed by his lawyer.

Lee was not able to attend the initial hearing of the Senate panel on the housing scam last April 8, prompting Ejercito to move that a subpoena be issued to Lee to compel him to appear in the next hearing.

But Garay claimed that his client was ready to attend the initial hearing however, certain protocols have prevented him from attending and testifying such as the issuance of an appropriate subpoena that was not released in time for the hearing.

Lawyer Darlene Marie Berberabe, president and chief executive officer of Pag-IBIG Fund, told the senate panel during last month’s hearing that there might have been a “special arrangement” between Lee’s company and the former officials HDMF.

Berberabe even cited the 2009 arrangement wherein Globe Asiatique was given a five year buy-back guarantee following the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Fund and the developer.

She said GA was given a five-year buy back guarantee when other developers under Window I scheme only have two years.

Developers that were allowed to use the Window 1 scheme were those that have been authorized to process and approve loan applications and even choose the borrowers.

The two year buy-back guarantee is the right of the developer to buy the account of the borrower from Pag-IBIG in the event the borrower fails to pay his or her loan. The developer can also resell the property to other buyers.

Lee’s camp also pledged to assist the panel in ferreting out the truth in the controversy.

Aside from Lee and former housing and HDMF officials, the committee has also invited the officials of the Philippine National Police headed by Alan Purisima in connection with issue about the questionable delisting of Lee from the PNP most-wanted list.

The hearing, according to Ejercito is scheduled on May 15.


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