MANILA, Philippines - After blacklisting real estate property firms owned by businessman Delfin Lee for alleged anomalous housing loan transactions, the state-run Pag-IBIG Fund is set to file criminal cases against its own officials and those from the Lee-owned firms.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also the designated housing czar, said they have enough evidence that will stand in court against these officials. However, he refused to name those to be charged and what they would be charged with.
Lee's companies, Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. and its affiliate Filmal Realty Corporation, have figured in a scandal involving several homebuyers who have failed to settle their housing loans with Pag-IBIG, a state-run mutual fund focused on the housing sector. The identities of the homebuyers, who are members of Pag-IBIG, were found to be spurious. Some were allegedly paid by Globe Asiatique agents to fill-up loan documents, among others.
Pag-Ibig has discovered these irregularities in housing loans involving Globe Asiatique's self-contained communities called "Xevera" in Pampanga province and in Filmal's "St. Monique Valais" housing project in Rizal province.
Binay chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), which oversees different housing-related government units, including Pag-IBIG.
Former Vice President Noli de Castro, who was also the HUDCC chair, and former Pag-Ibig chief executive officer and now Marikina Rep. Romero Federico Quimbo are spared from the criminal raps, according to ABS-CBN sources
When asked to confirm this, Binay refused to categorically absolve De Castro and Quimbo. "Batay sa ebidensya, sila (Lee and other Pag-Ibig officials) muna. Kung may makita pa kaming ebidensya (against De Castro, Quimbo or others), maghahabla pa kami."
Meantime, the Bureau of Immigration said they have placed Lee on their watch list to prevent him from leaving the country.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said he has received reports that Lee has applied for a U.S. visa.
Rodriguez said he is pushing for plunder charges to be filed against Pag-Ibig officials who are found to be in cahoots with Globe Asiatique.
"If they defrauded the government of P50 million, then that would be plunder and would be non-bailable," he told ABS-CBN in an interview.
ABS-CBN tried to reach Lee's camp for comments but they refused to be interviewed. - with reports from Sherryl Mundo and Anthony Taberna, ABS-CBN News