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Court okays raps vs Globe Asiatique execs

Thursday, 26 April, 2012 Written by Rey E. Requejo
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THE Court of Appeals has allowed the Department of Justice to file syndicated estafa charges against the executives and officers of housing developer Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. (GA) for allegedly duping the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig) in the amount of P1.014 billion.

In a 27-page decision, the CA’s 17th Division through Associate Justice Franchito Diamante lifted the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City Branch 167 Presiding Judge  Rolando Mislang last Sept. 5, 2011 stopping the justice department from filing the syndicated estafa charges.

The raps were to be filed against GA president Delfin Lee; his son Dexter, executive vice president, chief finance officer and treasurer; Cristina Salagan and Christina Sagun, heads of the GA’s accounting department and documentation department, respectively; and lawyer Alex Alvarez, an employee of Pag-Ibig’s legal department.

“After a thorough and judicious study of the attendant factual and legal milieu, this Court has come to the conclusion that no prejudicial question exists that would justify the issuance by the public respondent Judge of the writ of preliminary injunction as both cases before the DOJ can proceed independently of that with the Makati RTC,” the CA ruled.

The CA stressed that Judge Mislang committed grave abuse of discretion in stopping the filing of charges before the trial court against Lee due to the existence of  a prejudicial question.

On Oct. 29, 2010, HDMF officer-in-charge Emma Linda Faria filed a complaint before the National Bureau of Investigation against Lee and his son Dexter, among others.

On the same day, the NBI recommended to the DOJ the conduct of a preliminary investigation against GA and Lee and his-accused, for the crime of syndicated estafa constituting economic sabotage.

Subsequently, the DOJ formed a panel of prosecutors to investigate the complaint filed by HDMF through Faria.

A month after,  GA and Lee filed before the Regional Trial Court of Makati a complaint for specific performance and damages against HDMF.

In the said complaint, Lee asked the Makati RTC to compel HDMF to accept the replacements they had proposed to take the place of home buyers who failed to pay their loan amortization.

Lee’s lawyers contended that the inaction of HDMF to accept the said replacements forced the company to fail to perform its obligations under the memorandum of agreement and the funding commitment agreement it entered into with HDMF.

Meanwhile, on Dec. 10, 2010, the NBI Anti-Graft Division filed another case of syndicated estafa constituting economic sabotage against Lee and other GA officers.

In recommending the filing of such charge, the NBI took into account the complaint filed by  HDMF Fund against GA and its officers, for the fraudulent take-out of housing loans from fake borrowers.

The HDMF grounded its complaint on the affidavits executed by three clients of GA who complained of not being able to receive the titles to the properties they bought from the GA’s Xevera’s housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

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