DoJ to appeal SC ruling on Lee

The Department of Justice on Tuesday vowed to file a motion for reconsideration seeking to overturn the Supreme Court decision ruling last July allowing property developer Delfin Lee to post bail in criminal cases over the alleged anomalous housing projects of his firm Globe Asiatique in Pampanga worth P6.6 billion.

Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon said the National Prosecution Service, prosecutorial arm of DoJ, was scheduled to file a motion for reconsideration on the SC ruling though the office of the solicitor general.

“Yes, we will file an MR,” Fadullon said in an interview.

The head of the National Prosecution Service stressed that they hoped to convince the SC justices to reverse their affirmation of a Court of Appeals decision in 2013 that downgraded the cases against him from syndicated estafa to simple estafa.

“We will insist that it is a syndicated estafa case which is non-bailable case, so he (Lee) should not be allowed to post bail,” he said.

Last July, the High Court voted 7-5 with two abstentions to affirm the CA ruling and dismiss the petition filed in 2014 by the DoJ and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund).

The tribunal also lifted the temporary restraining order it issued in March 2014 that prevented Lee’s release from the jail as ordered by the appellate court.

Insiders said a reversal of the SC ruling was probable considering the close margin in the voting of the justices.

The source, who requested anonymity, pointed out that the DoJ would just need to convince two justices to switch sides to have the ruling reversed.

Lee was indicted for syndicated estafa charges for allegedly defrauding the government of P6.6 billion in housing loan proceeds for home buyers, whom investigators later found to be fictitious or had incomplete documents.

However, he persistently sought reliefs from courts and eventually secured a favorable ruling from the special 15th division of the appellate court in November 2013, which lifted the arrest warrant issued against him by the Pampanga regional trial court branch 42.

The appellate court had sided with Lee’s argument he could no longer be prosecuted for non-bailable charge of syndicated estafa following the dismissal of charges against two of his co-accused, Pag-IBIG Fund foreclosure manager Alex Alvarez and GA documentation head Christina Sagun.

With the dismissal of the complaint against Alvarez and Sagun, which left Lee and GA vice president Dexter Lee and accounting head Cristina Salagan as three remaining accused, the CA held that the crime of syndicated estafa may no longer apply against the remaining accused since the law requires at least five accused in a syndicated estafa case.

The DoJ and Pag-IBIG questioned the CA’s ruling before the SC and secured the TRO.

Lee was arrested on March 6, 2014 by elements of the Philippine National Police Task Force Tugis at the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel in Manila by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by the Pampanga RTC Branch 42 in connection with the Pag-IBIG housing loan scam where Lee allegedly used “ghost borrowers” for GA’s housing projects. 

Topics: Department of Justice , Supreme Court , Delfin Lee , Globe Asiatique , Richard Anthony Fadullon
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