Delfin Lee fears probe will turn into political witch-hunt
MANILA, Philippines—Businessman Delfin Lee is worried that the Senate inquiry into the P6.6-billion property scam allegedly perpetrated by his Globe Asiatique (GA) development company in Pampanga was turning into a “political witch-hunt.”
In a statement issued by his lawyer yesterday, Lee said he was concerned that he would not be able to answer the allegations against him by the Home Mutual Development Fund, or Pag-Ibig, after Sen. JV Ejercito suddenly shifted the direction of the inquiry he is leading as head of the committee on urban planning, housing and resettlement.
He noted that Ejercito had invited Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to the next hearing, “perhaps prematurely leaving the issue of housing development policies and regulations in favor of tackling the circumstances surrounding the court warrant for our arrest and detention.”
“We are deeply concerned by this, as it tends to indicate the housing committee’s quick disposition of the housing policy issue in favor of police matters,” said Lee, who is detained in a Pampanga jail for syndicated estafa.
“Let’s keep politics out of this,” he said.
Lee was unable to attend last Tuesday’s hearing of the Ejercito committee because the Senate failed to issue on time a subpoena that was required by the police warden.
In a text message, Ejercito assured Lee that the committee would focus on the GA scam. “The fraudulent scheme is still the main focal point. A P6.6-billion scam cannot be sidetracked,” he said.
He explained that the committee was keen on knowing the unusual circumstances behind Lee’s delisting from the PNP’s most wanted list.
He said the committee was interested particularly in the attempt by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Alfonso Umali Jr. to intervene in the arrest of Lee, who was captured last month after eluding authorities for a year.
Umali is a treasurer of the ruling Liberal Party, and Lee’s camp is claiming that the real estate developer is being singled out by Pag-Ibig and the Senate probers, specifically Ejercito and Sen. Nancy Binay, because of his close ties with Interior Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II, the LP president.
Pag-IBIG is chaired by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Roxas’ main rival for the presidential elections in 2016.
The current Pag-Ibig management has accused GA of getting preferential treatment in the previous Arroyo administration and using ghost buyers to funnel P6.6 billion of Pag-Ibig housing loan funds to its Xevera projects in Mabalacat and Bacolor in Pampanga.
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