By: Brian Maglungsod and Jess Malabanan, InterAksyon.com
November 2, 2015 5:46 PM
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA - Detained real estate developer Delfin Lee has asked the Supreme Court (SC) and a local court in San Fernando, Pampanga to look into the legality of an advice for the transfer of his detention from the Pampanga provincial jail to the Telabastagan detention facility supervised by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
In a motion, Lee appealed to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) and San Fernando, Pampanga Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes to take a look at the directive of Executive Judge Divina Luz Aquino-Simbulan for his transfer of detention.
Lee said Simbulan's findings that he was being accorded special treatment at the provincial jail as the reason for him to be transferred to another detention facility were mere "conjectures and hearsay" that have no basis and, if allowed to push through, would violate his constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty of the charges of syndicated estafa.
Furthermore, Lee, who is currently detained at Pampanga Provincial Jail, said he has been receiving numerous death threats, and claimed his transfer would expose him to great danger.
BJMP officials led by Supt. Rufino M. Santiago, Jr. and District Jail Warden Roy Regacho, however assured Lee that they can secure the real estate developer.
Lee's lawyer, Atty. Rony Garay, disclosed that Executive Judge Simbulan had already coordinated the transfer of the accused without waiting for the court's action.
In an Omnibus Motion, Garay asserted that "no person under detention shall be transferred except upon lawful order of the court."
Garay said that, to transfer his client would "trivialize and trample upon his constitutional right" of being presumed innocent until the contrary is proven because the advise to transfer him to the BJMP Telabastagan has no legal and factual basis.
If Simbulan would insist on the transfer, Garay said, his client requested that Simbulan be required to execute a written personal undertaking to secure the safety of his client, and, in case he is physically harmed at BJMP Telabastagan, any consequence shall be the personal liability of the executive judge.
What's worse, Garay added, was Simbulan's basis for her "advise" which he described as "pure surmises, conjectures and hearsay."
The Judge said she wants Lee transferred to another jail facility here after receiving "anonymous letters affecting Lee" and for being "surprised to see that there is a small gym (with bench press) in the vacant cell adjoining the cell where accused Delfin Lee was incarcerated."
He said it will be "truly unfair" for Lee to be transferred to the BJMP Telabastagan and be incarcerated together with about 100 common and hardened criminals, especially because the accused is not yet a convicted felon, since the syndicated estafa charges filed against him have yet to be resolved with finality.
The issue stemmed from Simbulan's letter to Fider-Reyes claiming that Lee was enjoying special treatment at the provincial jail, including the fact that he is alone in his cell and even has a bodyguard.
But Lee said there is no truth to Simbulan's letter, as he asked the Executive Judge to produce evidence to support her claim, especially if she would insist on his transfer.
Lee and several other officials of his firm – Globe Asiatique (GA) – and the government's Pag-IBIG housing agency were facing syndicates estafa charges for allegedly defrauding members of Pag-IBIG of some P6.6 billion in housing loans.
Globe Asiatique allegedly used fictitious names to take out loans from Pag-IBIG to fund its housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.