Lee's arrest triggers hunt for 4 more high-profile fugitives

By Cecille Suerte Felipe, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 10 2014 11:24 AM | Updated as of Mar 10 2014 07:24 PM

MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday vowed to run after four more fugitives tagged in high-profile crimes following the arrest of real estate magnate Delfin Lee of Globe Asiatique last week.

PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima ordered Task Force Tugis to intensify the manhunt for the so-called “Big Four” – retired major general Jovito Palparan, ex-Dinagat Islands congressman Ruben Ecleo Jr., former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother ex-Coron mayor Mario Reyes.

Senior Superintendent Wilben Mayor, spokesman for the PNP chief, said maximum efforts are being employed by the task force in going after the four fugitives, each carrying P2-million bounty on their heads.

“The arrest of (Delfin Lee) is a positive development. We encourage the other fugitives to surrender voluntarily because eventually, the long arm of the law will catch up with them,” Mayor said.

Lee, owner of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp., had been charged with syndicated estafa for allegedly defrauding Pag-IBIG Fund of P6.6 billion in housing loans.

Ecleo had been convicted of parricide for the killing of his wife 10 years ago.

Palparan had been charged with kidnapping and illegal detention in connection with the disappearance of two UP students – Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño – in 2006.

The victims’ families claimed that some military colleagues of Palparan are coddling him.

The Reyes brothers, on the other hand, are wanted for the murder of broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega.

“Although it may take time, we will get them eventually. We are urging them to surrender to authorities to save on government resources,” Mayor said.

“The PNP chief is personally monitoring the developments in the manhunt for the fugitives because he wants them put behind bars,” he added.

He refused to say whether the four fugitives have fled the country to avoid to prosecution.

Mayor, however, refused to comment on the conversation between Purisima and Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali, saying he has no knowledge on the matter.

Earlier reports said that Umali tried to stop Lee’s arrest. – With Jess Diaz