BACOLOR, Pampanga– At least 300 buyers of housing units at Xevera subdivisions here and Mabalacat City which were developed by jailed Globe Asiatique President Delfin Lee have received foreclosure notices from the Pag- IBIG Fund.
Now, they are urging the Senate to find means to have Lee testify in its hearings to enable him to expose the “truth” behind the Xevera controversy. This, after Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 42 in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga again junked the request of the Senate to allow Lee to attend its hearing last Jan. 22 on housing anomalies being linked to Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay.
The judge disallowed Lee on grounds of his case being sub-judice. The other day, Lee’s lawyers again filed a motion asking Fider-Reyes to inhibit herself from the syndicated estafa case for which she had ordered Lee arrested in March, 2014.
Lee, in an interview at the Pampanga provincial jail, said he has a pending administrative case against the judge filed before the Supreme Court for her alleged bias in favor of Pag-Ibig, the complainant in his case. (See separate story).
Lee’s lawyer Willie Rivera noted that in September last year, the Supreme Court en banc had clarified that Lee could be allowed to attend Senate hearings as resource person. The notice of this was signed by Supreme Court Clerk of Court Enrique Vidal.
This was after Fider-Reyes referred the issue to the High Court amid an earlier invitation by the Senate housing committee looking into the Xevera project issue. The committee, however, did not invite Lee anew after the clarification from the Supreme Court.
Ramon Recto, 57, a half-brother of Sen. Ralph Recto and resident of Xevera in Bacolor, said he was among the buyers who have received foreclosure notices from Pag-IBIG or the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF).
“We initially blamed Lee for our fate because he was demonized in media for the syndicated estafa case that was lodged against him by Pag-IBIG, but scrutiny of his case has convinced us that Pag-IBIG, and not Lee, is all to blame,” said Recto who was among the Xevera homeowners who filed a complaint before the RTC in San Fernando against Pag-IBIG on the foreclosure orders.
Recto said Xevera homeowners now realize how Pag-IBIG ignored existing laws, including the Maceda Law and the Magna Carta for Homeowners, and that Lee’s testimony in the Senate for purposes of legislation would help push for new laws or amendments to existing laws that would prevent another Xevera controversy from again victimizing families seeking homes under Pag-IBIG housing terms.
He recalled that when Binay assumed post as chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Pag-IBIG unilaterally sundered its contract with Lee’s Globe Asiatique which was initially entitled to collect monthly amortizations from Xevera homeowners and remitting the funds to Pag-IBIG. Binay won in the 2010 vice presidential race against Mar Roxas whom Lee openly supported.
“We later found out that even before Binay came into the picture, the agreement even leaned in favor of Pag- IBIG, because Lee was made to guarantee 95 percent amortization collection rate for a period of five years. Pag- IBIG would then subtract from some P590 million of Lee’s funds with Pag- IBIG should any homeowner fail to pay monthly dues,” Recto said.
Recto said that with the HUDCC under Binay, Pag-IBIG junked this arrangement meanwhile to accept amortization payments from of homeowners. After several months, Pag-IBIG decided to accept payments, this time already with interest.
“Many were not able to comply because of this, and we have started to receive foreclosure orders,” he said. Recto said that at Xevera in Bacolor alone, some 300 homeowners have received foreclosure orders. “There are hundreds more in Xevera in Mabalacat City who also got foreclosure notices,” he added.
Lee, in an interview in jail, said he had always wanted to “expose the truth” before the Senate. “Let me speak for at least 30 minutes then they can ask me any question. I am prepared to answer all in detail,” he said.
His lawyers filed for the third time yet another motion asking Fider- Reyes to inhibit herself from Lee’s case, as they pointed out alleged ties between the judge and Binay. Fider-Reyes is also a “pairing judge” in Makati City, the motion said.