MANILA – The San Fernando, Pampanga Regional Trial Court (RTC), which is handling the syndicated estafa case of property developer Delfin Lee, on Tuesday received a bomb threat that later turned out to be a hoax.
A court employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told ABS-CBN News that the clerk of court received a text message at around 10:30 a.m. today stating that a bomb had been placed inside the RTC building.
The bomb threat prompted the evacuation of all court employees.
Bomb experts cordoned off the building and later found a black leather bag. Upon inspection, the bag had no explosive inside it.
Bomb-sniffing dogs did not also find any explosive in and around the building.
Pampanga Executive Judge Edgar Chua refused to comment on the incident.
The police have yet to establish any connection between the bomb threat and the case of of Delfin Lee.
The Pampanga RTC earlier ordered the arrest of Lee, founder of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp., over the anomalous P6.6 billion loans obtained from Pag-Ibig Fund by "ghost" borrowers of GA's Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
Lee's camp questioned his detention, saying the Court of Appeals already quashed the arrest warrant issued by the Pampanga court and issued a halt to the criminal proceeding against him.
In a recent development, the Court of Appeals acted on Lee's petition for writ of habeas corpus, and directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to present Lee before the appellate court in a hearing set at 10 a.m. tomorrow, March 12.
The 2-page resolution, dated March 10 and signed by Associate Justices Manuel Barrios, Normandie Pizarro, and Stephen Cruz of the Special First Division, ordered the PNP and NBI "to produce the body of the petition before this (CA) court and to show cause why the relief sought should not be granted."
The appellate court ordered both agencies to explain the basis and legality of Lee's arrest and detention. After hearing the arguments of both sides, the appellate court will rule on the case.
Lee, founder and president of Globe Asiatique, filed a 5-page petition for a writ of habeas corpus on Monday, hours ahead of his scheduled arraignment on syndicated estafa charges pending in a Pampanga trial court.
Lee's arraignment was reset to Friday.
Lee's camp will file a supplemental petition today, urging the CA to include the Pampanga Provincial Jail as respondent in his petition for writ of habeas corpus. – with reports from John Mark Guda, ABS-CBN News Pampanga; and Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News