A lawyers’ group on Tuesday denounced the police’s attempt to remove Delfin Lee’s name from the list of persons facing arrest and insisted that only Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd had the power to issue such order given his authority over the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The Philippine Association for the Advancement of Civil Liberties pointed out that only Roxas could order Lee’s removal from the Warrant of Arrest Information System of the PNP.
Lee, president of Globe Asiatique, is facing several complaints for syndicated estafa. He was arrested early this month by a task force headed by Sr. Supt. Conrad Capa.
Vice President Jejomar Binay had claimed that the police almost released Lee because the Globe Asiatique president’s lawyer claimed that the arrest warrant issued by a Pampanga judge had been quashed by the Court of Appeals. He also claimed that some personalities had tried to intervene for Lee after his arrest.
The lawyers’ group said the attempt to delist Lee “was an affront to the judiciary.”
“We strongly condemn the unlawful ‘delisting’ and ‘removal’ of [Lee] from the Warrant of Arrest Information System of the [PNP] and the memorandum issued by the latter ‘enjoining the implementation of the warrant of arrest against Mr. Lee,” the group said.
“Considering that you (Roxas) have administrative control over the PNP through the National Police Commission, we hold you accountable for the desisting of Mr. Lee from the Warrant of Arrest Information System, as well as the issuance of the directive enjoining the PNP organization from implementing the warrant of arrest against Mr. Lee and use you to ensure that there are control mechanisms that would prevent the unlawful manipulation of the warrant of arrest information system.”
A certification dated January 15, 2014 issued by the Warrant of Arrest Information System said that according to their records, Lee’s name was removed from its database in November 2013.
Roderick P. Vera, the president of the lawyers’ group, said “the foregoing actions of the PNP betrays ignorance of Article VIII Section 1 of the Constitution which vests exclusively upon the courts judicial power, which includes the power to determine whether a warrant of arrest should be implemented or recalled.
In the case of Mr. Lee, it is of public knowledge that the government, through the Department of Justice, elevated the decision of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. It, therefore, behooves the PNP to seek direction from the DOJ and/or SC before unilaterally deciding not to implement the warrant.”
Meanwhile, the rift between PNP chief Alan Purisima and Capa worsened as the latter slammed the former for “punishing” him after Lee’s arrest.
Capa, in successive interviews over ABS-CBN, lamented that instead of being congratulated for the arrest of the property developer, he was relieved of his post and transferred to an obscure provincial position.
“He did not even congratulate me. Strangers congratulate me when they see me,” the police officer said.
Purisima hit back, saying that some officials, obviously referring to Capa, do not understand what he was doing.
The PNP chief insisted that only deserving officers are promoted.