Lee's lawyer blames Pag-IBIG for housing mess

by Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Mar 13 2014 11:33 AM | Updated as of Mar 13 2014 07:33 PM

MANILA – The lawyer of Globe Asiatique (GA) president Delfin Lee on Thursday reiterated his client's position that the Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-IBIG) should be blamed for the alleged "double sale" of properties from the developer.

Atty. Willie Rivera. Lee's legal counsel, said Pag-IBIG did not do its job of checking and verifying the identities of buyers whose loan applications were granted but later turned out to be "ghost" or fictitious borrowers.

Rivera said under GA-Pag-IBIG agreements, the property developer is also allowed to re-sell a property owned by delinquent buyer to a replacement buyer.

"Ang problema sa Pag-IBIG, sila mismo, under the collecting servicing agreement, funding commitment agreements, and memorandum of agreement, kapag yung first buyer namin eh hindi na po nagbabayad, sila (Pag-Ibig) mismo, under the contract, may provision po na pinare-replace nila. And they want us to facilitate the loan papers at sila ang nagche-check, nagpo-post-validate, nagve-verify," Rivera told ABS-CBN's 'Umagang Kay Ganda."

"So imposibleng may makapasok na Pag-IBIG na buyer na hindi dumadaaan sa kanila because the approval of the loan comes from Pag-IBIG. Sa counseling lang po ang GA. Kaya nanalo kami sa civil case eh," he added, referring to an earlier ruling by the Makati Regional Trial Court favoring GA.

The right to replace defaulting buyers is included in the five-year buy back guarantee of GA inserted by Pag-IBIG in the contracts which it solely prepared, alternative to the right of GA to directly pay off the loan of the buyer/borrower or for Pag-IBIG to cause the automatic off-setting of the unpaid buyer’s loan with the retention, escrow and other receivables of GA which are still in the possession of Pag-IBIG, the court had explained.

The Makati Court had also rejected the defense of Pag-IBIG that GA is guilty of breach of warranties under the FCAs when the latter allegedly approved the Pag-IBIG loan applications of a substantial number of fictitious or ghost buyers.

Explained the court: "Defendants should not be allowed to escape liability with impunity by simply alleging that the defaulting buyers-borrowers are fictitious and spurious because in the first place, defendant HDMF was the one, based on admitted and undisputed evidence, its Charter and provisions of the said contracts, that approved all the Pag-IBIG Fund membership and loan applications of the buyer-borrowers which defendant HDMF now claims to be substantially composed of fictitious and spurious buyers-borrowers."

Lee: No double sale

Lee, currently detained at the Pampanga Provincial Jail following his arrest last week, is facing syndicated estafa charges for allegedly using ghost borrowers and fake documents to obtain P6.65 billion in Pag-IBIG loans.

The government complaint alleged that Lee made false representations, submitted falsified documents such as identification cards, income tax returns, tax identification numbers allegedly manufactured by GA as supporting documents for the loan applications, and paid for the immediate Pag-IBIG membership of these fictitious and fraudulent buyers for them to qualify for loans.

Pag-IBIG claimed that in order for GA to induce the mutual fund to release more funds to pay for the housing units supposedly acquired by these individuals, Lee paid the amortizations of the alleged non-existent borrowers so as not to alert Pag-IBIG.

In a brief interview while inside his cell last March 11, Lee insisted that no such "double sale" of properties occurred.

"There's no such thing as double sale, alam mo napakasimple. Tignan niyo lang mga titulo. Kami ang may-ari at kayo ang nakatira. Sinasabi niyong biktima kayo, sinusulsulan kayo, meron na bang pumasok sa bahay niyo at inaangkin ang bahay na yan? Wala," Lee said.

Ghost, legit buyers decry fraud

In the same "Umagang Kay Ganda" interview, two more victims narrated how they got involved in the multi-billion housing scam.

Maritess Iglicia said her husband was promised with P20,000 in exchange for signing several documents.

She said her husband later found out that the documents were used to secure a loan for a property at GA's Santa Barbara Villas in Rizal.

She said they then started receiving bills from Pag-IBIG asking for a P3,995.31 monthly amortization.

"Hindi po talaga kami nag-loan, wala kaming property. Bali kami ang ginamit na ghost borrower," she said.

On the other spectrum is Ka Ding (not his real name), who said he bought a P3.7 million unit at GA Towers in Mandaluyong, only to find out later that it was named under two different people.

"Natitirhan namin hanggang sa ngayon, pero nung kami ay nagba-bayad na sa Pag-IBIG, hindi na tinanggap dahil sa may problema na, iba ang may-ari," he said. - with Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News; and The Philippine Star