OFFICIALS of the Philippine National Police (PNP) have a lot of explaining to do when the Senate starts its investigation into various issues surrounding the arrest of Globe Asiatique president Delfin Lee.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, chairman of committee on urban planning, housing and resettlement, said although the committee will focus its investigation on the multibillion-housing scam, the panel will invite police officials, including
PNP chief Alan Purisima.
The PNP chief will be asked to shed light on the reported removal of Lee’s name from the police force’s most wanted list and the transfer of the police officer who headed the team that arrested the fugitive businessman.
It was Senator Nancy Binay who filed a resolution calling on the concerned Senate committee to probe the delisting of Lee from the PNP’s Warrant of Arrest database.
After two years of eluding arrest, Lee was captured by on March 6, 2014 by the PNP’s Task Force Tugis headed by Senior Supt. Conrad Capa.
Days after Lee’s arrest, Capa was transferred to Cebu.
Vice President Jejomar Binay had claimed that some powerful personalities tried to intervene for Lee, and that the PNP almost released the businessman when his lawyer insisted that the arrest was illegal because the Court of Appeals had quashed the arrest warrant issued by a Pampanga court.
“While the arrest of Delfin Lee after two years of evading the authorities was a welcome respite to the victims of the P6.6 billion housing controversy, what is worrisome is that the camp of the accused is now questioning the validity of the arrest,” Binay said.
According to the senator, the real issue is the presence of a letter from the PNP Chief and the certification from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) which were used by Lee’s camp to question the arrest of the businessman.
Lee was arrested on charges of syndicated estafa.
The Senate committee will also inquire about the PNP chief’s decision to immediately remove Capa from the task force despite the ongoing case build up process on Lee.
Ejercito said the Senate panel also plans to invite Lee. The inquiry will start next month.
“We would like to know how a company like Globe Asiatique acquired a loan from Pag-Ibig using ghost housing loan applicants, and how could we protect the people from this manipulative and anomalous housing loan scheme,” Ejercito noted.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) also questioned Purisima’s decision to transfer Capa and urged President Benigno Aquino 3rd to review the performance of the PNP chief.
VACC chairman Dante Jimenez said in his 23 years as an anti-crime advocate, the recent years were the worst as far as peace and order situation is concerned, especially when it comes to the commission of heinous crimes.
He said the President should start to make a thorough evaluation of Purisima’s performance to determine if he is still capable of doing the task of a PNP chief.
“General Purisima sometimes is ill-advised. The timing is off, like his decision on Colonel Capa,” Jimenez said.
The VACC head said Capa’s transfer, which Purisima claimed was a promotion, was “unceremonious.”
“The timing is very bad,” he added.