MANILA - The Philippine National Police defends its arrest of Globe Asiatique owner Delfin Lee amid claims by Lee's camp that he has been removed from the PNP's most wanted list.
PNP Director General Alan Purisima said Lee was never delisted because the documents regarding the delisting never reached the Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary, who has the final approval.
He said even if Lee had been delisted from the PNP database, it will not stop them from enforcing the arrest warrant issued by the Pampanga Regional Trial Court.
He said delisting is just an administrative process that removes the bounty attached to the person.
"It has never been the job of the Philippine National Police to issue or quash warrants of arrest. Even assuming, he is delisted from our list of most wanted persons for purposes of rewards this will not stop us from enforcing any valid warrant of arrest against any person," he said.
"Yung issue ng mga abogado as portrayed in the media, I don't know saan sila humuhugot ng ganung argument because ang quashing of the warrant or legality of the warrant is determined by the courts and not by the police," he added.
He noted that the Supreme Court has upheld the arrest warrant for the Globe Asiatique owner.
Purisima also explained the phone call he received from Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali on the night of Lee's arrest.
He said Umali merely inquired if the arrest warrant for Lee was valid, which he affirmed. He also denied that Umali tried to prevent Lee's arrest as a favor.
"Walang nakakaarbor sa akin. Basta pagpapatupad ng batas, walang nakakaarbor sa akin," he said.
Lee is accused of using ghost borrowers and fake documents to obtain P6.65 billion in loans from Pag-Ibig Fund in 2009. He was arrested by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in a hotel in Manila on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the PNP chief said Task Force Tugis head Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa, who led the capture of Lee, has been transferred to another position.
Purisima said the move is actually a promotion and that the task force's momentum will not be affected by Capa's transfer.
"This qualifies him to be an XO or deputy regional director for administration. Isang hakbang na lang ay magiging star ranked na siya," he said.