SC issues TRO vs CA ruling on Lee's co-accused

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2014 08:30 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2014 04:30 AM

MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) issued another temporary restraining order (TRO) in connection with the syndicated estafa case involving several Globe Asiatique officers led by property developer Delfin Lee and a Pag-IBIG Fund lawyer.

The high court's 3rd Division halted on Wednesday the implementation of a Court of Appeals (CA) ruling that cleared Lee's co-accused, Atty. Alex Alvarez, former Pag-IBIG foreclosure manager.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), representing the Department of Justice (DOJ), went to the high court to seek a reversal of the CA ruling.

"Acting on the petitions filed by the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction... the court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order enjoining the Court of Appeals from implementing and enforcing its decision dated October 3, 2013 in CA GR SP No. 127690 entitled Alex M. Alvarez vs. Hon. Maria Amifaith S. Fider-Reyes, et al. that annulled and set aside resolutions dated May 22, 2012, and August 22, 2012 issued by Hon. Amifaith S. Fider-Reyes... that quashed, recalled, and lifted the warrant of arrest that the latter judge issued against petitioner Alex M. Alvarez..." the high court, in a resolution, said.

The SC had also issued similar restraining orders in the petitions against separate CA rulings in the cases of Lee, and another co-accused Christina Sagun.

In the case of Alvarez, the appellate court ruled that he cannot be treated as a conspirator in the alleged scam involving P6.6 billion of Pag-Ibig loans awarded to GA "ghost" borrowers for its Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga merely for notarizing the documents executed by the alleged fake buyers.

"Absent clear indications or links that a notary public has knowledge of the alleged crime and willingly and willfully participates in the commission of that crime, his mere act of notarizing is not enough basis to allow the hammer to fall upon him," the appellate court ruled.

With the SC TRO, the warrant for Alvarez's arrest remains valid, and trial against him shall proceed.

The cases against Lee, Sagun and Alvarez are pending before a Pampanga trial court.