FUGITIVE REAL ESTATE MAGNATE DELFIN LEE NABBED AT 5-STAR HOTEL

Fugitive real estate magnate Delfin Lee has been arrested by the police, the Inquirer learned Thursday night.Chief Insp. Vanni Martinez, leader of Task Force Tugis that arrested Lee at Hyatt Regency Hotel and Casino on Pedro Gil Street in Manila’s Ermita district at 6:45 p.m., said the owner of property developer GlobeAsiatique Realty Holdings Corp. had been taken to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. “Yes, we already have him in our custody,” Martinez told the Inquirer over the phone. Lee has a price of P2 million on his head, ordered by President Aquino in August 2012 amid criticism of the government’s inability to find high-profile fugitives. The President also put up a bounty of P2 million for each of retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, and former Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. On May 22, 2012, Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of Branch 42 of Pampanga Regional Trial Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Lee, his son Dexter and three officers of GlobeAsiatique for syndicated estafa, a nonbailable crime, in connection with two housing projects in Pampanga province. The National Bureau of Investigation and the PNP launched a manhunt for Lee and his coaccused.

ALSO: Victims hail Delfin Lee’s arrest

People jumped with glee, overjoyed at having finally “tasted justice.” This was how Ferdinand de Guzman and 24 other complainants reacted to the news that fugitive housing developer Delfin Lee was arrested on Thursday night at a five-star hotel in Manila. Police invited Lee for questioning on Thursday night and brought him to a Pampanga court early Friday. “We hope they will be punished for the wrong they did to us,” said De Guzman, 45, who sells boned bangus and tuna. Lee, the president of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp., had gone into hiding after a Pampanga judge ordered him and four others arrested for syndicated estafa in May 2012. De Guzman and other clients of Lee sued the developer for the allegedly fraudulent use of almost P7 billion in housing loans that were issued beginning in 2008 by the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund). The cases involve more than 10,000 housing loans. De Guzman said he and the other complainants all bought homes in Lee’s Xevera Homes here. After having paid P401,000 since 2009 for a Xevera property, De Guzman learned that the unit he had bought was not registered in his name. “It’s in the name of a ghost buyer,” he said, voicing essentially the same problem of the other complainants who had bought property in Lee’s development. Lee’s alleged scam involved using ghost Pag-Ibig Fund members and the double sale of housing units to obtain P7 billion from the state housing agency for housing development undertaken by his Globe Asitatique in Bacolor and Mabalacat, Pampanga, between 2008 and 2011. De Guzman claimed that a Globe Asiatique employee had offered him and other complainants P1.2 million each to “withdraw the case.”

ALSO: Delfin Lee’s love of luxury cars led to his fall, say police

The discovery of the identity of Delfin Lee’s mistress and his penchant for luxurious rides did him in. The fugitive real-estate magnate had been going around the metropolis in style despite the order for his arrest issued by the Pampanga Regional Trial Court, according to a police official directly involved in tracking down Lee. Hunted since May 2012, the owner of GlobeAsiatique Realty Holdings Corp. was arrested at a ritzy hotel casino in Ermita, Manila, on Thursday night. His biggest mistake? The high-end vehicles he was using were all registered under the name of his 41-year-old live-in partner with whom he has three children, the source said. “We really started from scratch in our task to locate and arrest him,” said the police official, who agreed to talk with the Inquirer on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter. Big break: “We got a big break when we were able to determine the identity of Mr. Lee’s live-in partner sometime in December,” he said. “From there, we searched where the woman was staying and what vehicles she was using. We found out from the records of the LTO (Land Transportation Office) that she actually owned several high-end vehicles,” the official said. Agents of Task Force Tugis, a crack team of police investigators created by Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, accomplished what other law enforcement units had failed to do even after President Benigno Aquino III offered a P2-million reward for Lee’s arrest. “His arrest was the result of months of careful investigative research and intelligence gathering. We used several informants to find Mr. Lee,” the source said.

ALSO: Delfin Lee: Who betrayed me?

It wasn’t so much the legality of his arrest that concerned Delfin Lee when the Philippine National Police (PNP) captured him on Thursday night. “What he wanted to know was how he was arrested. He wanted to find out if he has a staff who tipped (us) off,” one of the arresting officers, who requested anonymity, told The STAR yesterday. Lee, president of Globe Asiatique, was arrested at 6:30 p.m. Thursday as he left the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Ermita, Manila by the team of Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa and Chief Inspector Giovanni Martinez. Lee had been a fugitive for nearly two years after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of allegedly defrauding the Pag-IBIG Fund of P6.6 billion. “He was so shocked when his arrest warrant was served,” the source said. On his way to Camp Crame in Quezon City, Lee kept asking questions that centered on one topic: betrayal. The source added that at one point, Lee even asked: “How long had you been there in the hotel? Or did anyone call you?”


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Fugitive Delfin Lee nabbed at 5-star hotel


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2013/08/delfin-lee-e1394108443709.jpg
Globe Asiatique developer Delfin Lee. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, MARCH 10, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Julliane Love De Jesus, Marlon Ramos - Fugitive real estate magnate Delfin Lee has been arrested by the police, the Inquirer learned Thursday night.

Chief Insp. Vanni Martinez, leader of Task Force Tugis that arrested Lee at Hyatt Regency Hotel and Casino on Pedro Gil Street in Manila’s Ermita district at 6:45 p.m., said the owner of property developer GlobeAsiatique Realty Holdings Corp. had been taken to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

“Yes, we already have him in our custody,” Martinez told the Inquirer over the phone.

Lee has a price of P2 million on his head, ordered by President Aquino in August 2012 amid criticism of the government’s inability to find high-profile fugitives.

The President also put up a bounty of P2 million for each of retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, and former Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr.

On May 22, 2012, Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of Branch 42 of Pampanga Regional Trial Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Lee, his son Dexter and three officers of GlobeAsiatique for syndicated estafa, a nonbailable crime, in connection with two housing projects in Pampanga province.

The National Bureau of Investigation and the PNP launched a manhunt for Lee and his coaccused.

The case stemmed from the alleged use of fictitious members of Pag-Ibig Fund, or Home Development Mutual Fund, to defraud the agency of P7 billion in housing loans to be used in GlobeAsiatique’s projects in Bacolor and Mabalacat towns in Pampanga from 2008 to 2011.

In March last year, Judge Reyes issued a hold-departure order to stop Lee, Christina Sagun, Dexter Lee, Cristina Salagan and Pag-Ibig Fund lawyer Alex Alvarez from fleeing the country.

Lee was reported to have been cleared by the Court of Appeals, but Martinez said the Pampanga court had not lifted the warrant for the fugitive’s arrest.

Martinez said Lee was in a meeting with his lawyer and business associates at the hotel lobby when he was arrested.
“Mr. Lee had been under surveillance for several months,” Martinez said.

“We had information about his whereabouts, but it was not until last night that we were able to locate his exact location,” he said.

Asked if Lee’s companions were also arrested for harboring a criminal, Martinez said: “No. Only Lee was arrested.”
He said it was unclear whether Lee had left the country to evade arrest.

“[We hope to] get that information during the [interrogation],” he said.

Martinez said Lee “looked the same” since he was last seen in public during the hearing of the multiple estafa case filed against him in the Department of Justice.

“He does not look older. He does not look like he has lost weight,” Martinez said.

Victims hail Delfin Lee’s arrest By Tonette Orejas Inquirer Central Luzon 1:17 am | Saturday, March 8th, 2014


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/03/Delfin-Lee.jpg
GOTCHA! Tightly guarded by policemen, businessman Delfin Lee (center) is brought to a court in San Fernando City, Pampanga province, after his arrest on Thursday. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MABALACAT, Pampanga—People jumped with glee, overjoyed at having finally “tasted justice.”

This was how Ferdinand de Guzman and 24 other complainants reacted to the news that fugitive housing developer Delfin Lee was arrested on Thursday night at a five-star hotel in Manila. Police invited Lee for questioning on Thursday night and brought him to a Pampanga court early Friday.

“We hope they will be punished for the wrong they did to us,” said De Guzman, 45, who sells boned bangus and tuna.

Lee, the president of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp., had gone into hiding after a Pampanga judge ordered him and four others arrested for syndicated estafa in May 2012.

De Guzman and other clients of Lee sued the developer for the allegedly fraudulent use of almost P7 billion in housing loans that were issued beginning in 2008 by the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund). The cases involve more than 10,000 housing loans.

De Guzman said he and the other complainants all bought homes in Lee’s Xevera Homes here.

After having paid P401,000 since 2009 for a Xevera property, De Guzman learned that the unit he had bought was not registered in his name.

“It’s in the name of a ghost buyer,” he said, voicing essentially the same problem of the other complainants who had bought property in Lee’s development.

Lee’s alleged scam involved using ghost Pag-Ibig Fund members and the double sale of housing units to obtain P7 billion from the state housing agency for housing development undertaken by his Globe Asitatique in Bacolor and Mabalacat, Pampanga, between 2008 and 2011.

De Guzman claimed that a Globe Asiatique employee had offered him and other complainants P1.2 million each to “withdraw the case.”

“I wanted to accept it but accepting it would continue the scam. More home buyers will be victimized if Lee and his cohorts go unpunished,” he said.

Police arrested Lee and turned him over to Judge Edgar Chua of the Regional Trial Court Branch 47 after 9 a.m. on Friday.

He is being detained on the strength of the arrest warrants issued by Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes of RTC Branch 42. But because Reyes was handling court duties in Makati on Friday, Lee was turned over to Chua’s court.

Threats to his life

Instead of putting Lee in the Pampanga provincial jail in San Fernando, Chua committed the multimillionaire developer to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention center in Central Luzon after Lee’s lawyers claimed their client needed protection because of threats to his life. The Pampanga jail is about 100 meters from the NBI regional office.

Willie Rivera and Ronnie Garay, Lee’s lawyers, also questioned the arrest, claiming that the Court of Appeals had cleared Lee’s coaccused in the syndicated estafa case, which, in effect, reduced the case against the developer into simple estafa.

Last November, the appellate court ruled that one of the five respondents in the syndicated estafa case should not have been included, reducing the respondents to four, thereby reducing the offense to simple estafa, a bailable offense, as syndicated estafa requires five respondents.

The appellate court granted Lee’s petition to stop the hearing of the syndicated estafa case before the Pampanga RTC and quash the arrest warrant.

But Pag-Ibig Fund and the Department of Justice appealed the appellate court ruling to the Supreme Court.

“They should respect that the arrest warrant has been quashed,” Rivera said.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima insisted on Friday that the arrest warrant against Lee remains in effect.

She said that as the Office of the Solicitor General had filed a “timely” appeal against the Court of Appeals’ November 2013 ruling, the latter’s decision was “not yet final and executory.”

According to De Lima, she had been told by the prosecutors handling the case that the RTC judge (Chua) “agreed with our position that the arrest warrant is still subsisting.”

‘Professional treatment’

Lee thanked the police for what he said was the “professional treatment” accorded him.

At the NBI regional office, Lee’s blood pressure rose to 140. The NBI brought in a doctor to examine him but the doctor did not recommend that he be taken to a hospital.

The detention center, which can hold as many as 20 people standing shoulder to shoulder, holds only Lee and another detainee, who is being held for human trafficking.

Lawyer Jojo Yap, the NBI Central Luzon director, said his agency had been tasked to secure Lee, take him to court during hearings, and feed him.

Lee and family members who accompanied him to Pampanga, refused interviews outside the court or at the NBI.

But as he was being taken to Chua’s office, the businessman could be heard muttering: “Hindi totoo, hindi totoo (It’s not true, it’s not true).”

Authorities did not say if anyone received the P2-million reward that President Benigno Aquino III offered for information leading to the arrest of Lee.

Senior Supt. Conrado Capa of Task Force Tugis, which carried out the arrest, said an informant had tipped them off to Lee’s whereabouts.

Lee was arrested at the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Ermita, Manila, at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday.

The businessman had been under constant surveillance since last year, Capa said.

“This afternoon, he was spotted aboard an SUV and he was tailed up to the hotel where he was arrested at the lobby,” Capa told reporters.

Senior Supt. Joel Coronel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said the case against Lee was nonbailable.

Coronel said the arrest warrant was still valid, despite the Court of Appeals ruling absolving Lee of the crime of syndicated estafa, because the case had been elevated to the Supreme Court.

“The Court of Appeals has already observed judicial courtesy. The warrant is valid and subsisting,” Coronel said.

But Gilbert Ripiso, one of Lee’s lawyers, argued that the appellate court had already issued an order quashing the arrest warrant.

Ripiso also stressed that Lee was not “arrested but invited.”

“He was not arrested at the Hyatt Hotel, he was invited to go to Camp Crame. He was not handcuffed. When he got here, he was told that he would undergo booking procedures,” the lawyer said.

He said the arresting police team only had an alias warrant of arrest.

“I told him, if they will only invite you to clarify things, then go, you are not being arrested,” Ripiso said.

Not final and executory

But deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the appellate court ruling was not yet “final and executory since we filed an appeal to the decision of the Court of Appeals.”

“And proof positive of the fact that it did not become final and executory are two things: One, the warrant of arrest was not recalled, which is normally the case if quashing has been made final. It wasn’t recalled, and second, the hold-departure order against Mr. Delfin Lee was not lifted,” said Valte, who is a lawyer.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma called on Lee to “face the music” instead of questioning the validity of his arrest.

His arrest provides Lee with a clear opportunity to answer the serious charges against him, Coloma said in a text message.

Valte said that with Lee’s arrest, the government can now focus on hunting down the other four high-profile fugitives—retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, and former Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr.

“(Law enforcement) efforts that used to be concentrated on finding this particular person (Lee) can now be diverted to other persons that need to be tracked down,” as well, Valte said.

‘Certain influential people’

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday said that “certain influential people” had attempted to stop the police from taking Lee into custody.

“There was a long discussion at the [PNP Camp Crame] headquarters about his arrest. It’s good that the right thing prevailed,” he said.

“They (unnamed influential people) were trying to influence… What was a surprise to me was that they went [as far as] going to the police headquarters last night, trying to make the police release him on the allegation that the CA had made a favorable decision,” said Binay who heads the government’s various housing agencies.

He agreed with the government’s position that the arrest warrant issued by Reyes was still valid while the Supreme Court has yet to decide the government’s petition for a review of the appellate court’s ruling favoring Lee.

“He cannot be released. What the court has to do now is to issue a commitment order. That’s ministerial … Delfin Lee must be brought to the provincial jail,” said Binay, who is a lawyer. With reports from Julie M. Aurelio, Michael Lim Ubac, Tarra Quismundo and Jerome Aning

Delfin Lee’s love of luxury cars led to his fall, say police By Marlon Ramos Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:59 am | Saturday, March 8th, 2014 436 1296


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/03/delfin-lee-03072014-e1394217043299.jpg
Delfin Lee. Photo by Erwin Aguilon

MANILA -The discovery of the identity of Delfin Lee’s mistress and his penchant for luxurious rides did him in.

The fugitive real-estate magnate had been going around the metropolis in style despite the order for his arrest issued by the Pampanga Regional Trial Court, according to a police official directly involved in tracking down Lee.

Hunted since May 2012, the owner of GlobeAsiatique Realty Holdings Corp. was arrested at a ritzy hotel casino in Ermita, Manila, on Thursday night.

His biggest mistake? The high-end vehicles he was using were all registered under the name of his 41-year-old live-in partner with whom he has three children, the source said.

“We really started from scratch in our task to locate and arrest him,” said the police official, who agreed to talk with the Inquirer on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter.

Big break

“We got a big break when we were able to determine the identity of Mr. Lee’s live-in partner sometime in December,” he said.

“From there, we searched where the woman was staying and what vehicles she was using. We found out from the records of the LTO (Land Transportation Office) that she actually owned several high-end vehicles,” the official said.

Agents of Task Force Tugis, a crack team of police investigators created by Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, accomplished what other law enforcement units had failed to do even after President Benigno Aquino III offered a P2-million reward for Lee’s arrest.

“His arrest was the result of months of careful investigative research and intelligence gathering. We used several informants to find Mr. Lee,” the source said.

“The PNP chief had also been badgering us to produce good results since Task Force Tugis was created in August last year,” he added.

The police official said the task force received information that Lee was hiding in Metro Manila, riding in different luxury vehicles owned by his mistress in getting around the metropolis.

The source asked the Inquirer not to name the woman, saying she was not in anyway involved in the syndicated estafa case filed against Lee.

Luxury cars

He said the woman owned a Dodge Durango, a Porsche Cayenne, a Ford Expedition, a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Mitsubishi Adventure.

Lee, on the other hand, owned a Porsche Panamera, he added.

“But he seldom used the Panamera because he knew the authorities were already hot on his trail,” the PNP official said.

“Mr. Lee was using his live-in partner’s vehicles alternately to avoid suspicion. The windows of the vehicles had dark tints, which made it difficult for us to determine if he was really inside the vehicle every time we did surveillance operations,” he said.

Since he went into hiding, Lee stayed most of the time in an apartment at the ritzy Governor’s Place residential block on Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City, with his mistress and their children, the official said.

He said Lee was also seen frequenting a house in Parkway Village in Quezon City and an apartment at the GA Tower residential building on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Mandaluyong City that Lee owned.

Before he was arrested in the lobby of Hyatt Regency Hotel and Casino, the PNP official said, Lee left Governor’s Place at around 1 p.m. in his mistress’ Porsche Cayenne with license plate No. XRE-761.

When the vehicle got stuck in traffic on its way to the hotel, the official said, a motorcycle-riding member of the arresting team managed to get close to it and saw a man inside “who looked like Delfin Lee.”

“Luckily, the window tint of the Cayenne was not that dark. Our agent was able to make a positive identification of the subject,” the police official said.

Stakeout

He said he and his team decided not to enter the hotel and just place a stakeout in the area to avoid calling the attention of Lee’s driver and their other companions.

The official said he and his team were not sure exactly where in the hotel Lee was, but were told by an informant that the fugitive was in a meeting with his lawyer and his business partners in a private room.

After waiting for almost four hours, he said, Lee and his group emerged at the lobby of the hotel. It was 6:45 p.m. Plainclothes policemen walked up to Lee and arrested him.

The police official vehemently denied the claim of Lee’s lawyer that the arrest was illegal, saying the arresting team informed the fugitive businessman why he was being arrested.

“Mr. Lee was immediately handcuffed. We read him his rights. We also explained to his lawyer that the arrest warrant against his client was still valid and in effect,” he said.

Lee was then taken to Camp Crame to undergo medical checkup. Police also took his mug shots and fingerprints for documentation.

Asked if Lee had become too lax since the controversy over the P7-billion housing scam has been buried by the pork barrel scam, the source said: “I don’t think so. He was really very unpredictable. He was like that since the first day we tried to track him down.”

“We were just lucky that all our hard work paid off. This victory of the rule of law is a joint effort of several police units and not just Task Force Tugis alone,” he said.

FROM PHILSTAR

Delfin Lee: Who betrayed me? By Aie Balagtas See (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 9, 2014 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - It wasn’t so much the legality of his arrest that concerned Delfin Lee when the Philippine National Police (PNP) captured him on Thursday night.

“What he wanted to know was how he was arrested. He wanted to find out if he has a staff who tipped (us) off,” one of the arresting officers, who requested anonymity, told The STAR yesterday.

Lee, president of Globe Asiatique, was arrested at 6:30 p.m. Thursday as he left the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Ermita, Manila by the team of Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa and Chief Inspector Giovanni Martinez.

Lee had been a fugitive for nearly two years after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of allegedly defrauding the Pag-IBIG Fund of P6.6 billion.

“He was so shocked when his arrest warrant was served,” the source said.

On his way to Camp Crame in Quezon City, Lee kept asking questions that centered on one topic: betrayal.

The source added that at one point, Lee even asked: “How long had you been there in the hotel? Or did anyone call you?”

Blame the sun rays

According to the source, Lee arrived in the hotel on board a heavily tinted Porsche Cayenne at about 3 p.m. He had just come from a tightly guarded condominium complex on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City “to attend a meeting.”

Members of the tracker team tasked to arrest Lee noticed the vehicle and did not let go. But they were not sure whether Lee, wanted for syndicated estafa by a Pampanga court, was indeed inside the car.

“It was hard to know if he was inside the vehicle because it was heavily tinted and he had many cars,” the source said.

But during the covert chase on that sunny Thursday afternoon, sun rays hit Lee’s vehicle, giving the tracker team a glimpse of who was sitting on the front passenger seat.

“The team finally saw Lee,” the source said.

The tracker team was “excited,” although they were “still unsure” whether it was really Lee inside the luxury vehicle.

For six months since they had been tasked by PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima to arrest Lee, this was the first time that they actually saw him inside a car.

According to the source, Lee used about five cars to evade law enforcers. The fugitive had stayed mostly in Metro Manila when he was evading authorities.

“Up to the last minute, we thought we were going to lose him because suddenly there were fireworks when he was going out of the lobby. It was so noisy our members could not hear each other,” the source said.

Nonetheless, the cops rushed toward the hotel entrance to serve the warrant. Operatives surrounded the ramp where Lee’s driver was waiting with his vehicle.

“We could not have allowed him to ride the vehicle, no matter what happened,” the source said.

Lee’s lawyer Gilbert Repizo resisted the arresting officers, and insisted that Lee is now a free man based on the ruling of the Court of Appeals.

Repizo and law enforcers argued for about eight minutes until Lee’s camp decided to surrender him to the arresting team. His arrest ended the law enforcers’ two-year manhunt.

Lee is the first of the five high-profile fugitives known as the “Big 5” to be arrested. Lee had a P2-million bounty on his head.

Palace conducts probe

Malacañang is looking into reports that Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali allegedly tried to block the arrest and seek the release of Lee.

Vice President Jejomar Binay earlier said influential people were trying to protect Lee from arrest and the charges he would have to face for allegedly duping real estate clients of their hard earned money.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over radio dzRB yesterday they would have to find out what happened exactly and not just base their comments on news reports.

“In fairness to Gov. Umali, we need to get his side and find out from other reports, like those from the PNP, to know what really happened,” Coloma said.

Umali, for his part, told The STAR yesterday that he did not intervene in the arrest of Lee.

He admitted calling up Purisima to clarify the status of Lee’s arrest because he said many Mindoreños were aware of the businessman’s case.

Umali said Lee had a subdivision project with former Oriental Mindoro congressman Rod Valencia.

Umali also said that he was requested by Repizo, a former councilor of Calapan City, to inquire whether Lee’s arrest warrant was valid.

Repizo is a personal lawyer of Umali, a close friend and political ally of President Aquino.

Arrest welcomed

Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo welcomed yesterday the arrest of Lee, saying it was due to the political will of the Aquino administration and the efficiency of law enforcement agencies.

Quimbo, who was head of the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) when Lee started his allegedly anomalous project, said had President Aquino not put up a reward for the businessman’s arrest, it would have been harder for him to be located.

“It again shows that no matter how rich or powerful you are, the long arm of the law will catch up with you, especially if the government has the political will to run after those who have defrauded the government,” he said.

He said the Office of the Ombudsman cleared him a few years ago when his name cropped up in the alleged scam of Lee.

He said it was in 2008 when the housing program began as a pilot project with Lee as the developer with 2,000 units only as a ceiling.

Quimbo said he wanted to make sure the project would work before it would be expanded as Lee had been insisting.

He said he put up safeguards, including a 95 percent guarantee of payment from Lee, to make sure the project would not put the government and ordinary borrowers at risk.

A year later, Quimbo said he was removed from the agency after Lee strongly lobbied to expand the project and the safeguards that were put up were ignored.

He said less than two weeks after he was removed, the ceiling was set aside and loan take-outs from the Pag-IBIG Fund ballooned. – With Aurea Calica, Juancho Mahusay, Paolo Romero


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE