THE Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG Fund) is set to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dismissing the syndicated estafa case against fugitive developer Delfin Lee and other officials of Globe Asiatique (GA).
This after Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday instructed the Pag-IBIG Fund to seek a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the CA decision which also lifted the warrant of arrest issued by a Pampanga court against them.
“This is a most unfortunate decision. But we are confident that we have a strong case against Mr. Lee,” Binay said.
Binay, who is also the country’s housing czar said, he has directed Pag-IBIG Fund chief executive officer Darlene Marie Berberabe to confer with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Solicitor General and immediately file an appeal before the Supreme Court (SC).
“We will pursue our fight for justice for the ordinary Filipino workers. We will exhaust all legal remedies to ensure that the homeowners who were defrauded by Globe Asiatique and victimized by Mr. Lee will be given justice,” Binay added.
Binay is the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and chair of the Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees.
He had previously ordered the filing of syndicated estafa charges against Lee and several others after an investigation which he ordered revealed that Lee had used fake documents and ghost borrowers to some P7 billion in loans from the housing agency.
The Vice President expressed high hope that the SC will issue a TRO once the case is brought on appeal.
In clearing Lee of syndicated estafa, the CA also annulled the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes, presiding judge of the San Fernando, Pampanga RTC-Branch 42 against the fugitive developer.
In a 29-page decision penned by Associate Justice Franchito Diamante and concurred in by Associate Justices Agnes Reyes-Carpio and Melchor Sadang, the CA said that “for estafa to have been committed by a syndicate, the act must be committed by five or more persons.”
“Consequently, the warrant of arrest issued against petitioner (Lee) is hereby quashed, recalled and lifted,” the court ruled.
The CA previously dismissed the case filed against Cristina Sagun, former head of GA’s documentation department and Lee’s co-accused in the syndicated estafa case filed by the DOJ, finding no probable cause.
The Regional Trial Court of Pampanga originally ordered the arrest of Delfin and Dexter Lee and their co-accused upon the finding sufficient evidence to try them for syndicated estafa, a non-bailable offense. RITCHIE A. HORARIO