MANILA (UPDATED/CORRECTED) - Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Tuesday challenged Vice-President Jejomar Binay to name the influential person who allegedly tried to stop businessman Delfin Lee's arrest.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Roxas said Lee was never removed from the Philippine National Police wanted persons' list.
He said the courts issue the arrest warrants, which are then implemented by the PNP.
Roxas said he received a report that there is a certification by an office within the PNP that the name is in the process of being removed.
"This is pursuant to - apparently there was a Court of Appeals ruling sometime in October or November last year that overturned the arrest warrant and enjoined the PNP and [National Bureau of Investigation] from effecting an arrest. There is CA ruling signed by Justice [Franchito] Diamante and 2 other justices, I think it was pursuant to that that the PNP began the process, but in the middle of the process the Department of Justice came in and filed a motion for reconsideration in the Supreme Court which stopped that process," he said.
He added: "Our position, had it gotten to us, our position, the DOJ is saying, it is not final, so therefore there should be no change in the arrest listing of the PNP."
Roxas twitted Binay for failing to name the alleged influential person who tried to stop Lee's arrest.
"I think the most responsible thing for the Vice-President to say
is to actually say who tried to prevent the arrest other than just simply giving, general, nameless, faceless, attributable-less
information, which just sows intrigue and innuendo," he said.
Lee was arrested by PNP Task Force Tugis operatives in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel in Manila by virtue of a warrant issued by San Fernando Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 in connection with the over P6 billion in Pag-IBIG loans that went to "ghost borrowers" for a Globe Asiatique housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
The businessman's camp had cried foul over his arrest, citing the CA decision that cleared Lee of syndicated estafa charges and ordered the police to stop his arrest.
Binay earlier claimed that Lee, who is considered to be one of the country's top fugitives, had been "delisted" by police authorities.
He said he received information that Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong, the acting director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), sent a letter to Lee's lawyer saying that the businessman was already removed from its wanted list.
"Kumbaga sa intensity ng paghahanap eh ibinaba... Ibig sabihin hindi na yung buong pwersa ang maghahanap [sa kanya]," he said.
That is why he was surprised that Lee was finally arrested, he said. "Napatalon ako. Sabi ko 'Congratulations! Hinuli na ng pulis!"