Or. Mindoro Governor Umali denies he meddled in the arrest of housing scam suspect Delfin Lee
POSTED: Thursday, March 13th, 2014
Palace conducts probe
CALAPAN CITY – Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso V. Umali, Jr. has denied he meddled or has tried to block the arrest of one of the most wanted men in the country and housing scam suspect Delfin Lee last March 8.
This, as Malacañang, as of press time, is looking into reports that Governor Umali was allegedly tried to block the arrest and seek the release of Lee on the said day by phoning Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Allan Purisima.
Lee, president of Globe Asiatique that allgedly duped many people and the government to the tune of millions of pesos in his housing project called Xevera mostly in Pampanga province. And because of the said case, Lee’s name was placed in the so-called “big 5,” or the five most wanted men in the country today which include retired Army General Jovito Palparan, politician brothers Joel and Mario Reyes, and ex-congressman Ruben Ecleo.
Vice-President Jejomar Binay earlier said influential people were trying to protect Lee from arrest and the charges he would have to face for allegedly duping real estate clients of their hard earned money.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a radio interview last March 8 they (in the Malacañang) would have to find out what happened exactly and not just base their comments on news reports.
“In fairness to Governor Umali, we need to get his side and find out from other reports, like those from the PNP, to know what really happened,” Coloma said.
Umali, for his part, told this author on March 8 that he did not intervene in the arrest of Lee. He admitted calling up General Purisima to clarify the status of Lee’s arrest because he said many Mindoreños were aware of the businessman’s case.
Umali said Lee, at one time, had a subdivision project with former Oriental Mindoro First District Congressman Rodolfo G. Valencia.
Umali also said that he was requested by lawyer Gilbert Repizo, a former councilor of Calapan City, to inquire whether Lee’s arrest warrant was valid.
Attorney Repizo, aside from being a friend, is a personal lawyer of the Oriental Mindoro governor, who, on the other hand, is a close friend and political ally of President Benigno C. Aquino III.
Umali is the national treasurer of Aquino’s Liberal Party and a member of the presidential Cabinet, being the representative of all local government units in the legislative-executive development action council (LEDAC) for being both the president of Union of Local Authorities in the Philippines (ULAP) and League of Governors in the Philippines. (By JUANCHO R. MAHUSAY)