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VP Binay: Pasig judge a disgrace to the judiciary

09/03/2011 [ tribune.net.ph ]

Vice President Jejomar Binay, irked at the temporary restraining order issued by a Pasig judge on the case filed against Globe Asiatique, yesterday called the Pasig judge who issued the TRO in the GA scandal “a disgrace to the judiciary.”

He said Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Rolando Mislang “is not only obstructing the cause of justice, he is single-handedly obstructing the anti-corruption campaign of the Aquino adminis-tration.”

“This judge is a disgrace to the judiciary. And I will not allow one person to stand in the way of justice for the thousands victimized by Globe Asiatique and the fulfillment of the Pre-sident’s promise to end corruption,” he said.

Binay directed all government agencies to take all the needed legal action to “remedy the injustice to the home-owners victimized by GA.”

Mislang issued a TRO over the “double sale” complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation and Evelyn Niebres et al. against GA owner Delfin Lee.

Binay, the concurrent chairman of the Housing

and Urban Development Coordinating Council, last year ordered Pag-IBIG fund to investigate reports that GA used ghost borrowers and fake documents to siphon off over P6 billion in loans.

The Pag-IBIG investigation led to the discovery that the property developer was double-selling its housing units. Victims of “double sale” came out after the agency slapped GA and a Pag-IBIG lawyer with charges of syndicated estafa constituting economic sabotage, a non-bailable offense.

Binay said the TRO is “unacceptable” as it hinders the filing of additional cases against Lee. He called on the Department of Justice to file an administrative complaint against Mislang for grave misconduct and abuse of authority.

But the Pasig judge may be in a lot of hot water, as the Supreme Court’s Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) has already issued an order to Pasig City judge, for him to explain why he TRO which barred the Department of Justice from filing syndicated estafa charges against Delfin Lee and four others.

Judge Mislig will have to answer to Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, who has supervision over the lower courts and their conduct.

Marquez said his office has been receiveng complaints regarding Pasig City RTC Branch 167 Judge Mislang.

The hearings if his office, however, are held privately.

Earlier, when queried why former Vice President Noli de Castro was not included in the complaint against Lee and GA, Binay said that De Castro is not yet off the hook as he could still face charges for authorizing questionable multibillion-peso loans to property developer GA.

Binay added while the investigation into the GA scandal did not uncover any direct evidence against De Castro to justify his inclusion in the syndicated estafa case, it does not mean that the former Vice President has been cleared.

“We cannot speculate on the outcome of the case. The investigation is not yet over,” Binay told a press briefing as he appealed to those who have direct evidence that could link De Castro to the scandal “to come out in the open.”

“Please come forward and help us gather direct evidence,” he said.

The scandal involved anomalous loans acquired by GA from Pag-IBIG Fund, which was headed concurrently by De Castro when he was Vice President, by allegedly using “ghost” borrowers and spurious documents, resulting in P6.65 billion in losses for the state-run housing fund agency.

Close to 10,000 applicants, mostly with incomplete documents while some were reportedly not genuine home buyers, were able to easily avail of loans for housing units developed by the GA in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

De Castro, who returned to his old job as a broadcaster after a 10-year government stint, denied any wrongdoing, saying construction of the housing units were already completed by GA using its own fund before these were sold to Pag-IBIG members.

The DoJ approved last week the filing of a syndicated estafa case against GA owner Delfin Lee, his son Dexter and three other GA employees, and an official of Pag-IBIG Fund. Syndicated estafa is a non-bailable offense and punishable by life imprisonment.

Binay said former and current Pag-IBIG officials are subject to investigation by the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman initiated a fact-finding investigation into the GA scandal during the latter part of 2010, but has yet to release its findings.
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