Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Prosecution or persecution? - HIDDEN AGENDA By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes - The Philippine Star » News » Business

Prosecution or persecution? - HIDDEN AGENDA By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes - The Philippine Star » News » Business
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"x x x.

The complaint against Lee and others before the DOJ Task Force on Securities and Business Scam was heard for a period of eight months by a panel that included senior assistant state prosecutor Ma. Emilia Victorio and assistant state prosecutors Bryan Jacinto Cacha, Susan Villanueva, Edmundo Magpantay, and Rohaira Tamano.

After eight months of hearing and thoroughly evaluating the evidence and documents on hand, the panel recommended that a simple estafa case be filed against Lee and two other GA executives. The offense is bailable.

However, when the task force chair and senior deputy state prosecutor Theodore Villanueva reviewed the draft resolution, he revised the panel’s recommendation from simple estafa to syndicated estafa, which is non-bailable.

Besides Lee and the two other GA executives, Villanueva recommended the inclusion of Lee’s son Dexter and a Pag-Ibig lawyer, making them five which is a requisite for syndicated estafa.

Observers are now questioning Villanueva’s basis for overturning the panel’s recommendation. They are asking what Villanueva could have seen that the panel of five prosecutors did not. They also wonder whether the late inclusion of Dexter Lee and the Pag-Ibig lawyer was a mere legal maneuver to fulfill the requisite for syndicated estafa, and whether Villanueva and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano who approved the review resolution are getting instructions from someone else.

It will be recalled that Villanueva himself signed the resolution of the panel recommending simple estafa only to change it later to syndicated estafa.

According to the NBI and Pag-Ibig, the respondents conspired to use “ghost” borrowers to obtain more than P6 billion in loans from Pag-IBIG to finance the purchase by these borrowers of GA’s housing units at the Xevera project in Pampanga.

x x x."