Delfin Lee to seek deferment of arraignment

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2014 11:23 AM | Updated as of Mar 10 2014 09:02 PM

Lee's lawyer files peremptory writ of habeas corpus with CA

MANILA, Philippines - The camp of embattled property developer Delfin Lee, president of Globe Asiatique, will ask for a deferment of his arraignment this afternoon on charges of syndicated estafa.

Speaking to ABS-CBN News, Lee's lawyer, Emmanuel Pichay, said they will raise before the Pampanga Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 the filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus, on Lee's behalf, before the Court of Appeals this morning.

"We just filed a petition for a peremptory writ of habeas corpus because this is the remedy provided under the rules of court for all cases involving illegal detained person. In our case, our client has been illegally arrested because the warrant of arrest issued by RTC of Pampanga has already been quashed, lifted and recalled by the CA last November 2013," Pichay said.

"This is a very urgent petition because the detention is illegal," he added.

The 5-page petition urges the CA to order the trial court and National Bureau of Investigation, which has custody of Lee, to present him before the appellate court at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, and, order his immediate release from "illegal detention."

Lee's camp insists on the appellate court's ruling, dated Nov 7, 2013, that quashed the warrant for his arrest, and directed Pampanga RTC Branch 43 Judge Amyfaith Reyes to halt Lee's trial.

"To date, there is no temporary restraining order or injunction issued by the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the direct injunction dated 7 November 2013 issued by the Court of Appeals against Judge Reyes and the PNP. There is likewise no TRO or injunction issued by the Supreme Court to stop the immediate recall, quashal and lifting of the warrant of arrest against herein petitioner," the petition for writ of habeas corpus read.

The CA held that Reyes committed grave abuse of discretion in upholding the DOJ's finding of probable cause against Lee and ordering his arrest, when she did not state in her resolution that the crime of syndicated estafa against Lee and company were committed by at least 5 persons.

Lee's camp attached the CA Nov 2013 ruling in his petition.

Also attached is a certification from the PNP CIDG Warrant of Arrest Information System Section (WAISS) dated Jan 15, 2014, which states that the arrest warrant against Lee was removed from the WAISS database as of Nov 20, 2013, due to the CA ruling.

Attached as well is a letter certification from CIDG Acting Chief Supt Benjamin Magalong addressed to one of Lee's lawyers, Atty Willie Rivera, dated Jan 16, 2014, stating that Lee's arrest warrant has been delisted from the WAISS database.

Finally, also attached is a letter certification from no less than PNP Chief Alan Purisima, addressed to Atty Pichay, stating that the PNP "fully recognizes and acknowledges" the CA ruling directing all law enforcement agencies from effecting Lee's arrest.

The motion that seeks the deferment of Lee's arraignment will be filed with the Pampanga RTC at 3 p.m.

Lee, and 4 others, were charged with the non-bailable offense of syndicated estafa, for alleged anomalous loans obtained by GA "ghost" borrowers for its Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga, from the Pag-Ibig Fund, amounting to P6.6 billion.

Lee had been a fugitive from justice until last Thursday when he was arrested by PNP Task Force Tugis operatives in Manila.