MANILA - The delisting of businessman Delfin Lee from the police's most wanted list was only an administrative action and did not invalidate his arrest warrant, Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) legal chief Atty. Virgilio Publico said Monday.
Publico, in a press conference at Camp Crame, said the arrest warrant on Lee stood unless the court that issued it withdrew its order.
Lawyers of Lee filed a petition for habeas corpus on Monday morning at the Court of Appeals (CA), insisting that the property developer's arrest and detention are illegal.
Lee's lawyers submitted to the Court of Appeals documents, including the CA order quashing the warrant of arrest for Lee, letters from the CIDG removing Lee from its list, and Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima's letter informing the lawyers that they were delisting Lee from their wanted list.
The CA Special First Division will handle the Lee's petition for writ of habeas corpus.
Lee's petition, aimed at halting a Pampanga trial court from proceeding with his arraignment and the trial for the charge of syndicated estafa, was raffled off to this division, and will be handled by Associate Justice Manuel Barrios.
Lee and 4 others were charged with the non-bailable offense of syndicated estafa, for alleged anomalous loans obtained by Globe Asiatique "ghost" borrowers for its Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga, from the Pag-IBIG Fund, amounting to P6.6 billion.
The trial court issued the arrest warrant against them on May 22, 2012. Lee had been a fugitive from justice since then, until last Thursday when he was arrested by PNP Task Force Tugis operatives in Manila. - with a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News