SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—A local court has ordered the arrest of developer Delfin Lee, his son and three officers of Lee’s Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. for syndicated estafa in connection with the P7-billion “ghost borrowers” housing loan scandal.
The Lee father and son, Christina Sagun, Cristina Salagan and lawyer Alex Alvarez were ordered arrested by Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 after the judge found probable cause in a syndicated estafa case filed against them in connection with Globe Asiatique’s Xevera housing projects in Bacolor and Mabalacat towns in Pampanga.
Reyes did not recommend any bail for the Globe Asiatique officers who were sued by several home buyers and the state-run Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund) for allegedly conspiring in the irregular use of P7.03 billion worth of housing loans obtained by unqualified Pag-Ibig Fund members between 2008 and 2010, the so-called “ghost borrowers” who bought homes in Globe Asiatique’s Pampanga housing projects.
The decision came more than a month after the Department of Justice (DOJ), with approval from the Court of Appeals, filed the case for syndicated estafa at the RTC here. It was raffled off to Reyes who received six boxes of documents relating to the case.
The DOJ task force on securities and business scams, which recommended the filing of syndicated estafa charges against Lee et al, also referred to the Office of the Ombudsman for “appropriate investigation” complaints against Marikina Representative Romero Quimbo, who was the Pag-Ibig president at the time of the Globe Asiatique loan takeouts, Jaime Fabian, Tessie Gonzales, Rafael Albano and Vilma Flores for possible violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law.
In late April, Lee went to the Supreme Court to stop the DOJ from filing the syndicated estafa charges against him.
“To allow the continuation of the criminal cases against him would undoubtedly cause serious and irreparable injury and damage to petitioner—damage which he or his business may no longer recover from,” Lee’s petition for review read.
About two years ago, several Pag-Ibig Fund employees blew the lid on the housing loan scam allegedly perpetrated by Globe Asiatique. They said Lee’s company allegedly paid people to enroll themselves as Pag-Ibig Fund members under the so-called Special Working Group program to avail of housing loans.
Documents obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer showed that Globe Asiatique took out P7.031 billion for 9,951 housing loan accounts from the Pag-Ibig Fund from March 2008 to August 2010. The amount exceeded the P500-million annual cap that Pag-Ibig grants accredited developers.
The houses, it turned out, were not in the names of the “special buyers,” or the people who were paid to take out the loans. The contracts and titles were supposed to be amended to bear the name of the real buyers.
This scheme was reportedly hidden because it was Globe Asiatique that collected the amortization supposedly paid by the buyers. The scam was uncovered when many of the houses were found not to be occupied or were being used by other people and not the legitimate buyers.
“The issuance of the warrants of arrest against Delfin Lee and his co-accused just shows that the law is on the side of the ordinary workers duped by Globe Asiatique,” said Vice President Jejomar Binay, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council who also chairs the Pag-Ibig board.
“Globe Asiatique defrauded the ordinary workers who are contributors of Pag-Ibig Fund. The company defrauded hardworking citizens of Pampanga by selling property they already purchased legitimately to other buyers, a practice known as double selling,” Binay said. With Tina G. Santos http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/199401/arrest-warrant-out-for-delfin-lee