A housing official who rushed to Camp Crame right after the arrest of Delfin Lee on March 6 said police officers had considered releasing the Globe Asiatique (GA) president.
“It is incredulous for the Philippine National Police [PNP] to even consider releasing an apprehended accused based on the mere representations of the latter’s lawyer on the purported invalidity of the Warrant of Arrest. Clearly there must have been influential people that worked on the actual delisting of Mr. Lee from the Warrant of Arrest Information System and pressured the PNP to cause Mr. Lee’s release despite the existence of a valid Warrant of Arrest,” Assistant Secretary Daniel Subido said in a report to Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Binay directed Subido, the deputy secretary general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), to rush to Camp Crame “to ensure that the rule of law be applied and the proper procedure be followed on the arrest and detention” of Lee.
The Vice President, who is also the chairman of the Pag-IBIG Fund, said he received a report that influential people pressured PNP officials to release Lee.
“When I arrived [at]Camp Crame, I was surprised that PNP officers were discussing the validity of Mr. Lee’s arrest based on the mere representations made and documents presented by his lawyer,” Subido said in his report.
He added that Lee’s lawyer insisted that the arrest warrant had been quashed, and that the PNP should release the businessman.
Subido said he had to explain that the warrant was valid and existing.
“In fact, it was confirmed to me by [Sr. Supt.] Conrad Capa, the head of Task Force Tugis, that the task force verified with the Regional Trial Court of Pampanga that the warrant of arrest against Mr. Lee was still valid and existing despite the ruling of the Court of Appeals [CA] dated November 7, 2013 which purportedly quashed, recalled, and lifted the Warrant of Arrest against Mr. Lee,” Subido said.
He said the events that occurred immediately after Lee’s arrest proved that certain influential people were pressuring the PNP to release the real estate developer.
“The circumstances that transpired immediately after the arrest of Mr. Lee coupled by the certification, memo and letters showing the delisting of Mr. Lee from the database of outstanding arrest warrants and ordering to enjoin the implementation of the arrest warrant against him previously issued by the PNP only show that influential people indeed pressured the PNP to favor Mr. Lee,” Subido said.
He recommended that Pag-IBIG Fund formally commend Capa and Task Force Tugis for their “integrity and fortitude in apprehending and detaining Mr. Lee despite the pressure received from influential people.”
Binay on Monday admitted that he has informed President Benigno Aquino 3rd of the “influential persons” who tried to block the arrest of Lee.
“We already discussed it,” he told reporters. He did not disclose the identity of the “influential persons.”
Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali has admitted to Aquino that he called PNP chief Alan Purisima to clarify the basis of Lee’s arrest.
It was Binay who ordered the filing of a complaint for syndicated estafa against Lee and several Globe Asiatique officials in December 2010.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas earlier urged Binay to name the persons who tried to intercede for Lee so that they too can be investigated.
Roxas also denied allegations that he had a hand in the removal of Lee’s name in the “Most Wanted” list. As Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Governments, Roxas has power over the police force.
The Supreme Court upheld Lee’s arrest when it issued an order nullifying the Court of Appeals’ decision quashing the arrest warrant.
Meanwhile, Sen. Nancy Binay wants an investigation into the alleged delisting of Lee from the PNP’s most wanted list.
Senator Binay filed Senate Resolution No. 567 which directs the appropriate Senate committees to find out why Lee’s name was stricken from the list and why the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s certified that Lee is no longer in the database of persons facing arrest.