DOJ set to appeal CA decision on GA case

By Rene Acosta, BusinessMirror

Posted at Oct 15 2012 07:04 AM | Updated as of Oct 15 2012 03:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) will appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) that nullified syndicated estafa charges against an official of home developer Globe Asiatique (GA), whose other officials, including its president Delfin Lee have been indicted on the same charges.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the department, through the solicitor general, will file a motion for reconsideration before the Special 10th Division of the appellate court over the certiorari it granted for Christina Sagun, GA documentation head.

The DOJ feared that the clearing of Sagun from the syndicated estafa case will result in the downgrading of the charges to plain estafa against her former co-respondents that include Lee, as syndicated estafa requires at least five accused.

“The DOJ will definitely take further issue on that ruling by filing motion for reconsideration through the solicitor general,” de Lima said.

Early this month, the Supreme Court (SC) junked the petition of Lee to stop his indictment, which stemmed from the company’s allegedly anomalous housing projects in Pampanga that involved Pag-IBIG Fund loans.

In a two-page notice of resolution, the Court dismissed Lee’s petition that seeks to reverse a CA ruling issued in April that gave the DOJ the go-signal to proceed with his indictment for syndicated estafa.

The SC cited as ground Lee’s “failure to show any reversible error in the challenged decision as to warrant the exercise of the Court’s discretionary appellate jurisdiction.”

Vice President Jejomar Binay, chairman of Pag-IBIG Fund, said with the Court’s ruling, he expects the syndicated estafa case against Lee and his co-accused, Dexter Lee, his son; GA officers Cristina Salagan and Sagun and Pag-IBIG Fund legal department employee Alex Alvarez to proceed.

However, the latest ruling of the CA may have an impact on the case, despite saying that its decision was “not without legal implication on the information filed against the other accused.”

In its ruling, the CA held that the DOJ made a mistake in charging Sagun with syndicated estafa owing to the absence of ample evidence against her during the DOJ’s preliminary investigation.