Friday, March 14, 2014

Cop who nabbed Lee loses task force post

By Non Alquitran The Philippine Star

File photo shows Task Force Tugis chief Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa showing the mug shot of Delfin Lee.
File photo shows Task Force Tugis chief Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa showing the mug shot of Delfin Lee.

MANILA, Philippines – A week after the police Task Force Tugis arrested Globe Asiatique president Delfin Lee, the unit’s head was relieved yesterday by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima.

Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa was designated as deputy regional director for operations (DRDO) of Cebu. Purisima will temporarily supervise Task Force Tugis, which is under the office of the PNP chief.

Purisima said Capa’s relief was not a punishment but a reward. Capa, however, expressed “frustration” over his relief.

In a press briefing, Purisima said Capa was not relieved but was promoted to his new assignment.

The PNP chief said Capa had been in the task force for a long time and was due for a transfer.
“To give him the chance to be promoted to one-star general (chief superintendent), I reassigned him to Cebu,” Purisima said. “This qualifies him to become an ex-o (executive officer), then deputy regional director for administration. That is a step closer to becoming a chief superintendent.”

But Capa felt his transfer was not a commendation for a job well done after his unit arrested Lee.

Lee was arrested last March 6 by elements of PNP Task Force Tugis at the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel in Ermita, Manila by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by the San Fernando, Pampanga regional trial court (RTC) Branch 42 in connection with the Pag-IBIG housing loan scam where Lee allegedly used “ghost borrowers” for Globe Asiatique’s housing projects.

Lee had been a fugitive since the RTC ordered his arrest in 2011.

This developed as the Court of Appeals (CA) junked yesterday the bid of Lee to be released from detention while standing trial for syndicated estafa for the allegedly anomalous housing projects in Pampanga worth P6.6 billion.

No reason
Capa said there was no reason given for his relief order that yanked him out of Task Force Tugis.

“This is not a promotion and every officer in the PNP would know that. If he wanted to promote me, there are several vacant positions now in Camp Crame where he could have me assigned,” said Capa.

He mentioned some of the vacant offices in the PNP like the Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA), Eastern Police director, chief of directorial staff of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and the deputy chief of the Civil Service Group (CSG).

Capa said he has not talked with Purisima since the arrest of Lee.

But reports circulating in PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City showed that Capa was tagged as the source of reports that Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali called Purisima to intervene on behalf of Lee.

Capa had denied that he leaked the information on Umali.

Purisima also explained the telephone call he got from Umali after Lee was nabbed.

“The call did not last for even a minute,” was how Purisima described the phone call.

Umali found himself on the defensive after information had it that he was pressuring the PNP to release Lee.

“I was only asked if the warrant of arrest was still valid, (I said) yes, it is still existing. (Then he replied) okay, sige, thank you,” Purisima said during a press briefing yesterday in Camp Crame.

He admitted that the PNP was affected by the controversies surrounding the arrest of Lee.
Purisima said what’s important is that Lee was arrested.

“In spite of the recent controversies affecting the PNP that have somehow distracted public attention from our continuing transformation and reforms we are undertaking, to raise the level of our competencies to better serve the people (through) our intensified campaigns against organized crime, illegal drugs, loose firearms, and wanted persons; our operating units maintained their strategic focus according to our action priorities and accomplished the mission,” Purisima said.

Capa had joined Purisima during his stint with the CSG in 2008, at the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM), with the Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3), the NCRPO and eventually as chief PNP.

“I think I’m a victim of mudslinging here,” he surmised.

Purisima said Capa could not be promoted to chief superintendent if he remains in Task Force Tugis.

“He (Capa) can’t be promoted so he has to be transferred,” explained Purisima. “This is a promotion and not a relief. Actually a reward, a stepping stone to promotion.”

But Capa explained that it would take him six more months as a DRDO before he can be considered for promotion to chief superintendent.

According to Capa, he had just attended Lee’s hearing at the Court of Appeals when he received his relief order from the Directorate for Personnel and Resource Management (DPRM) at about 6 p.m. last Wednesday.

“I was so shocked. My morale hits an all-time low,” he said.

Capa said he was saddened as his new assignment would mean he would be away from family in Cavite during the “last few years of police service.”

Capa, of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1985, is set to retire in 2016.
“It would mean added financial woes for my family as the plane ticket alone from Manila to Cebu and vice versa would cost me P14,000,” he said.

Now that he had said his piece, Capa said he would report to the PRO7 early today.
“I have to move on. I’ll be facing a new challenge in my life,” he said.

Senate probe urged
Sen. Nancy Binay called yesterday for an inquiry into the alleged delisting of Lee from the PNP Most Wanted Persons List.

Binay filed Senate Resolution No. 567 that directed the appropriate Senate committees to start an inquiry into the alleged removal of Lee’s name from the list.

“We need to review the existing policies and laws governing the inclusion and removal of a person’s name from the warrant of arrest database and the most wanted persons list in order to prevent lapses in the procedure which can be used to circumvent the law and legal processes,” she said.

The senator also wants to look into the circumstances that led to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)’s move to issue certification that the Globe Asiatique president had been dropped from the warrant of arrest database.

“While the arrest of Delfin Lee after two years of evading authorities was a welcome respite to the victims of the P6.6-billion housing controversy, what is worrisome is that the camp of the accused is now questioning the validity of the arrest,” Binay said.

Binay seconded the recommendation of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II that the delisting of Lee should be investigated.

He also wanted to seek answers from PNP chief Purisima over the certification from the CIDG, which is now being used by Lee’s camp to question his arrest.

Purisima also defended CIDG director Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong for delisting Lee.

“There was no violation,” he added.

In a letter, Magalong informed Lee’s lawyer that his client had been delisted in compliance with the Nov. 7 ruling of the Court of Appeals quashing the warrant of arrest.

Purisima also explained the confusion on the delisting of warrant against Lee.

“The delisting only applied to the reward. The warrant is still valid, and quashing of a warrant of arrest is not the job of the PNP. I don’t know the basis of Lee’s lawyer for using the argument that his client should have not been arrested since the PNP has delisted him from the most wanted persons,” the PNP chief said.

Earlier, Roxas ordered an investigation on the reports that police officials worked for the removal of Lee from the list of most wanted persons.

Roxas maintained that warrant of arrest against Lee has not been revoked.

“Lee was included in the list of five individuals wanted by the law, who each carried a monetary reward of P2 million for information leading to their arrest,” said Roxas.

Aside from Lee, the four other high profile fugitives in the PNP Most Wanted List are former Army Gen. Jovito Palparan, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother, former Coron mayor Mario Reyes, and Dinagat Island ex-congressman Ruben Ecleo Jr., leader of Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association.

Roxas noted that the court has jurisdiction of Lee’s case and the Department of the Interior and Local Government will abide by the court order.

The Supreme Court (SC) issued Wednesday a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the enforcement of a CA ruling last year that lifted the arrest warrant against Lee and quashed the charges against him before the San Fernando, Pampanga regional trial court (RTC).

In a resolution, the third division of the high court granted the immediate relief sought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), formerly Pag-IBIG Fund, in separate petitions questioning the decision of the special 15th division of the CA last November favoring Lee.

The TRO issued by the SC division chaired by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. is effective immediately and continuing until further orders.

It effectively settles the issue on whether or not the arrest warrant against Lee still stands.
In August 2011, the DOJ indicted Lee, his son Dexter Lee, GA officers Christina Sagun and Cristina Salagan, and Pag-IBIG Fund legal department employee Alex Alvarez for syndicated estafa for the allegedly anomalous housing projects in Pampanga.

The accused were charged for allegedly defrauding members of Pag-IBIG of some P6.6 billion in housing loans used in projects of Globe Asiatique in Bacolor and Mabalacat towns in Pampanga from 2008 to 2011.

Sagun was earlier cleared by the 10th division of CA, effectively downgrading the case to plain estafa since syndicated estafa requires involvement of at least five persons.

But the SC issued a TRO in April last year enjoining the enforcement of the October 5, 2012 and February 11, 2013 rulings of CA.

This means the case of syndicated estafa against Lee has remained.

As expected, the special first division of the CA denied the petition for habeas corpus of the businessman questioning the legality of his arrest and detention by the PNP.

In a eight-page resolution issued yesterday afternoon, the CA cited as basis the TRO issued by the SC last Wednesday stopping the enforcement of the 2013 CA ruling.

“In the light of this development [on the SC TRO], the issue of whether the decision dated 07 November 2013… is executory and effective has become academic,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Manuel Barrios.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima welcomed the SC TRO.

“It’s good that the Supreme Court comes in, intervenes in an appropriate manner and in timely manner, under its power of review over the actions or the decisions of the lower court, including the Court of Appeals where we had some setbacks,” she told reporters in an interview.

The DOJ chief admitted they were relieved by the development considering the series of setbacks they have encountered earlier in their legal battle against Lee and several other high-profile personalities at the CA. With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Christina Mendez, Mike Frialde, Edu Punay


Globe Asiatique said...

know the truth at

Globe Asiatique said...

know the truth at