MANILA, Philippines – Businessman Delfin Lee on Monday, March 10, filed an “extremely urgent” petition for peremptory writ of habeas corpus before the Court of Appeals seeking his release from “illegal” detention.
In a 5-page petition, Lee appealed for relief from “unlawful and involuntary deprivation” of his liberty by the Philippine National Police on the strength of a warrant of arrest for syndicated estafa that had been quashed by the appellate court on Nov 7, 2013.
“Worse, despite the DIRECT INJUNCTION by no less than the Honorable Court of Appeals against the PNP and the commitment of the higher echelon of this so-called ‘protector of the people,’ NOT TO IMPLEMENT THE WARRANT OF ARREST, they still implemented the same and arrested the ILLEGALLY DETAINED herein petitioner,” Lee, owner of Globe Asiatique, said in his petition.
Lee asked that he be granted the privilege of writ of habeas corpus “preferably” on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 11:00 am.
Police arrested Lee on March 6 for syndicated estafa charges filed by the Department of Justice over the alleged use of ghost borrowers to obtain P6.6 billion loans from Pag-IBIG Fund in 2009.
On Nov 7, 2013, the Court of Appeals dismissed the charges against Lee and barred authorities from arresting him but Justice Secretary Leila De Lima believes that the arrest warrant against Lee remained valid since the CA’s decision was not yet final.
In dismissing the case against Lee last year, the CA said the businessman could not be prosecuted for syndicated estafa since this “must be committed by 5 or more persons.”
One of Lee’s co-accused – Christina Sagun, documentation officer of Globe Asiatique – was absolved by the CA, leaving just four people facing the charge: Lee, his son Dexter, GA Accounting Head Cristina Salagan and Pag-IBIG lawyer Alex Alvarez. The CA said this reduced the charges of syndicated estafa to estafa, a bailable offense.- Rappler.com
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