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Pasig court stops DoJ to file case vs Globe Asiatique officials

08/31/2011 [ ]

Embattled property developer Delfin Lee scored a legal victory yesterday, after he secured a temporary restraining order (TRO) barring the Department of Justice (DoJ) from filing an information with the trial court for syndicated estafa constituting economic sabotage in connection with alleged irregularities surrounding Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corporation’s (GA) controversial Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

In a two-page order, Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Rolando Mislang granted Lee’s application for TRO for a period of 20 days enjoining the DoJ to “cease and desist” from filing the case in court.

“[T]he court reiterates that extreme urgency exists in the case and would cause serious and irreparable injury and damage to petitioner if petitioner faces arrest and cannot post bail in the event that an information is filed before the matter on prejudicial question can be resolved,” the order read.

Prejudicial question is based on a fact “distinct and separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused.”

The trial court’s order was issued on the same day it heard Lee’s application for TRO.

In a 50-page Review Resolution dated Aug.10, the DoJ recommended the filing of criminal charges for the non-bailable offense of syndicated estafa constituting economic sabotage against Lee, GA president; his son Dexter Lee, executive vice-president, chief finance officer, treasurer and board member; Christina Salagan, head of Accounting/Finance Department; Christina Sagun, head of Documentation Department; and lawyer Alex Alvarez of the Pag-IBIG Legal Department and manager of the Foreclosure Department for “soliciting and paying of special buyers and/or creating ghost borrowers” for the Xevera project.

This resulted in P6.65 billion in losses on the part of Pag-IBIG, based on the complaints of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF/Pag-IBIG Fund).

The resolution stated all elements of syndicated estafa are present in the case and successfully established by complainants, among them the use of false pretenses, fraudulent acts, or fraudulent means employed or executed prior to or during the commission of the fraud, and the offense was committed by a “syndicate” consisting of five or more persons with the intention of carrying out the unlawful act resulting in the misappropriation of, among others, funds solicited by corporations from the general public.

“Truly, the evidence for the complainant fully established the false pretenses or fraudulent means employed by GA which, undoubtedly, were executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud as they were utilized for the purpose of securing and obtaining the funds,” the resolution read. Jason Faustino.

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