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Globe Asiatique officials cannot be held liable for syndicated estafa – CA

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 16, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals (CA) Former Special Tenth Division denied with finality the motion for reconsideration filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or the Pag-IBIG Fund) of its Oct. 5, 2012 decision absolving petitioner Cristina Sagun, former head of Globe Asiatique documentation department, of the crime of syndicated estafa together with the other four accused, including Globe Asiatique President Delfin S. Lee and his son, Dexter.
In connection with the decision, the CA ordered the quashing or cancelling of the syndicated estafa case filed against the Globe Asiatique executives by the DOJ before a Pampanga court and the recall of the arrest warrant issued against them.
Ordered quashed in the Feb. 11, 2013 CA resolution penned by CA Associate Justice Angelita Gacutan is Criminal Case 18480 pending before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 of San Fernando, Pampanga.
Also sought to be recalled is the arrest warrant issued by San Fernando, Pampanga RTC Branch 42 Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes against Sagun as well as that against Lee, his son Dexter, Globe Asiatique accounting department head Cristina Salagan, and Pag-IBIG lawyer Alex Alvarez.
The appeals court, in dismissing the syndicated estafa case, explained: “There is only one information for syndicated estafa filed against all the accused, petitioner included, under Criminal Case 18480 pending before public respondent RTC. xxx Following the definition of the law, if only less than five  persons are charged of syndicated estafa, the estafa or swindling cannot be committed by a syndicate. To hold otherwise would be to deny such persons of the right to bail thus, violating their constitutional right to due process and liberty.”
“By the same logic, the remaining four accused in Criminal Case 18480 cannot be tagged as a syndicate in contemplation of Sec. 1, P.D. 1689. This is so because the lack of probable cause to indict petitioner Sagun for the offense of syndicated estafa and the dismissal of the DOJ Review Resolution dated Aug. 10, 2011 changes the juridical nature of the offense charged against petitioner Sagun and the four other accused,” the appellate court continued.
The resolution said: “In other words, since there would only now be four accused in the information for syndicated estafa in view of our disquisition absolving the petitioner, the said Information would be constitutionally infirm at its core.
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