THE Supreme Court downgraded estafa charges against businessman Delfin S. Lee, thereby allowing him the recourse of bail.
In his Tuesday press briefing, SC Assistant Court Administrator and Chief Public Information Officer Theodore O. Te said the high court “downgraded the offense that respondent Delfin Lee is charged with from syndicated estafa under Article 315, as amended, to simple estafa.”
Thus, Mr. Lee “is entitled to bail as a matter of right,” Mr. Te added.
The SC voted 7-5 in Mr. Lee’s favor, with two of the justices “taking no part” in the voting, the high court spokesman also said.
The SC has not released copies of the decision as of this reporting.
Mr. Lee, president of real estate firm Globe Asiatique, was charged with syndicated estafa after allegedly taking in P6.6 billion worth of housing loans from the PAG-IBIG fund, using “ghost borrowers.” Others inmplicated in the syndicated estafa case filed by the DoJ are Mr. Lee’s son Dexter L. Lee, Globe Asiatique officials Christina Sagun and Cristina Salagan, and PAG-IBIG lawyer Alex Alvarez.
The Court of Appeals(CA) dismissed the syndicated estafa cases of Ms. Sagun and Mr. Alvarez but the SC subsequently issued a temporary restraining order on the CA’s decision.
Syndicated estafa needs at least five respondents and is punishable with life imprisonment. — Gillian M. Cortez