MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III asked Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali to explain his alleged interference in the arrest of businessman Delfin Lee.
In an interview with radio dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said Umali, the treasurer of the ruling Liberal Party, explained that he did not try to influence the arrest of the Globe Asiatique founder.
“Ayon kay Gobernador Umali, naipaliwanag na niya ito kay Pangulong Aquino matapos siyang tanungin sa pamamagitan ng text message,” Coloma said.
Umali admitted he indeed called Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima on Thursday but only to confirm if Lee had been arrested.
He said it was the call from Lee’s lawyer, Gilbert Repizo, which prompted him to ask Purisima. He said Repizo is a friend and is also from his province.
“Nais daw linawin ni Atty. Repizo ang batayan ng pag-aresto kay Ginoong Lee dahil sa pagkaalam ng kanyang kampo may desisyon na ang Court of Appeals na pabor sa kanyang kliyente. Nang itanong ito ni Gobernador Umali, ang tugon ni General Purisima ay valid pa ang warrant of arrest laban kay Ginoong Lee, kaya doon nagtapos ang kanilang pag-uusap,” Coloma said.
Lee’s camp claimed the arrest was illegal since there is already a Court of Appeals ruling back in November granting a petition to stop the hearing of the syndicated estafa case. The decision was eventually appealed.
Asked if Aquino was satisfied with Umali’s answer, Coloma said: “Hanggang doon na lamang po ang aking pahayag dahil ‘yan lang po ang aking kaalaman sa kasalukuyan.”