Delfin Lee assails jail transfer

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DELFIN LEE, founder of the controversial real-estate company Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp., has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to look into the legality of the directive issued by the executive judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in San Fernando City ordering his transfer from the Pampanga Provincial Jail to a nearby prison facility under the supervision of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

In an omnibus motion filed before Judge Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes of Branch 42 of the RTC in San Fernando, Lee through his lawyer Salvador Viste Jr., asked the latter to conduct further verification of insinuations of special treatment being hurled against him before heeding the advise of Executive Judge Divina Luz Aquino-Simbulan.

Lee branded as mere “conjectures and hearsay” the allegations that he is being accorded special treatment at the provincial jail.

“Thus, it will be truly unfair for herein accused to be transferred to the BJMP Telabastagan and be incarcerated together with 100, more or less, common and hardened criminals, especially so that herein accused is not even a convicted felon,” Lee said.

He added that allowing his transfer would violate his constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, considering that the advise to transfer him to BJMP Telabastagan has no legal and factual bases.

Simbulan, in a letter addressed to Fider-Reyes, who is handling the syndicated estafa case filed against Lee and several others, insinuated that Lee was enjoying special treatment at the provincial jail where he has been detained since 2014.

Simbulan told Fider-Reyes that during her surprise quarterly jail visitations she observed that Lee is detained at the second floor of the provincial jail that was newly reconstructed and rehabilitated.

She said there was a number of vacant detention cells at the said second floor and Lee was a solo inmate in his cell.

The executive judge added that she was surprised to see that there is a small gym in the vacant cell adjoining Lee’s cell and that the detainee has a bodyguard.

Likewise, Simbulan pointed out that Lee’s transfer to the BJMP facility in Telabastagan in San Fernando City, would be beneficial to his lawyer Wille Rivera who holds office near the prison facility.

Lee asked Fider-Reyes to compel Simbulan to testify and produce evidence to support his allegations if the latter would insist on his transfer.

Lee said Simbulan should also be asked to execute a written personal undertaking to secure his safety in case his transfer pushes through and to take full responsibility for any consequence of such action.

Lee’s camp has also provided the SC through the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) a copy of its motion, with a corresponding request for the latter to look into the validity of Simbulan’s “advise.”

Lee, is currently detained at the Pampanga Provincial Jail on earlier charges of syndicated estafa for allegedly defrauding the government of P6.6 billion in housing loan proceeds for home buyers, whom investigators later found to be fictitious or had incomplete documents.

Earlier, Lee’s camp asked the Court of Appeals to quash a warrant issued by the RTC in Pampanga.

The CA (CA) quashed the warrant but the SC has enjoined the CA from implementing its order.

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