On Thursday, Lee, through his lawyer, filed a verified complaint before the Supreme Court against Executive Judge Divina Luz P. Aquino-Simbulan for gross ignorance of the law, usurpation of official functions and violation of RA 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
In his complaint to SC Court Administrator Midas P. Marquez, Lee said sometime in April this year, Simbulan, through an emissary of her husband, Regional State Prosecutor Jesus C. Simbulan, offered to help him be interviewed by GMA Network News in exchange for a brand new Nissan patrol.
Lee said the emissary told him that Judge Ma. Amifaith Fider-Reyes, the presiding judge of RTC Branch 42 hearing his syndicated estafa case, would not allow the interview but Simbulan is the executive judge and she can issue a written opinion “so persuasive that Reyes will have no choice but to accede.”
Lee also said he is a witness on how powerful Simbulan is in the Pampanga Provincial Jail because “everybody here knows about an incident wherein she forcibly took away from an inmate a Shih Tzu puppy for P1,000 only even if the usual price of the puppy ranges from P12,000 to P15,000. Lee said the woman inmate could do nothing and just cried profusely.”
Lee said even if he did not agree to Simbulan’s unsolicited help, Simbulan wrote a letter to Provincial Administrator Andres Pangilinan, Jr. in connection with the letter of Ruth Cabal, GMA News producer, rendering an opinion favorable to him.
According to Lee, a portion of Simbulan’s letter read: “It is the considered opinion of the undersigned executive judge that a detention prisoner has the right to receive and entertain visitors which include the media within the scheduled visiting hours of the Pampanga Provincial Jail. Thus, the request of Ms. Cabal to interview accused Delfin Lee depends on accused Delfin Lee if he will agree to receive Ms. Cabal as a visitor and grant her request to interview him.”
Lee said the opinion of Simbulan is contradictory to the position of Reyes who has been consistent in denying him interview with the media and even to attend the Senate hearing of Blue Ribbon Committee and despite Simbulan’s opinion, he was denied the interview with GMA News.
Lee said Simbulan befriended him even up to the point of calling Reyes names such as “weird and boba” and promised to do everything to make his life easy inside the jail.
But Lee said he told Simbulan he was financially distressed and could not afford the Nissan Patrol since his business could not function well.
Because of that, Lee said, Simbulan closed down the bakery, which she believed was donated by him, which was used in training inmates learn livelihood programs.
Not contented, Simbulan now wants him transferred to another jail, first at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Telabastagan here, and subsequently in another letter, to the Arayat jail which could compromise his security due to the numerous death threats which, Lee said, he has been receiving since the start of the case.
Lee said Simbulan should be criminally prosecuted for usurpation of authority because she represented herself to the officials of the BJMP that she has the jurisdiction and power to transfer him.
Lee said Simbulan should also be administratively penalized and even removed as judge for gross ignorance of the law in interfering with the jurisdiction of RTC Branch 42. Likewise, for the executive judge to be “criminally prosecuted by the Ombudsman for violation of Section 3 (b) and (e) of RA 3019 for directly soliciting a brand new Nissan Patrol in exchange for her favorable opinion for (Lee) to be interviewed by the media…”
Finally, that Simbulan be disbarred by the IBP for obvious violations of the Professional Code of Lawyers.
Copies of Lee’s complaint were furnished to Simbulan, Reyes, the IBP, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Secretary of Justice and the Prosecutor General.
(Punto was still trying to reach Simbulan but failed as of presstime. Our pages are open to her side at her convenience – Editor)