JUSTICE Secretary Agnes Devanadera on Thursday took exceptions to the accusations of Senator Mar Roxas that she “colluded with a criminal” in allowing Legacy owner Celso Delos Angeles to leave St. Luke’s Hospital and stay in a nearby posh condominium unit despite the warrant of arrest against him.
Delos Angeles is facing several estafa charges in connection with the pre-need firm’s failure to pay off the multi-million proceeds of their members’ deposits and insurance.
The businessman, who was also mayor of Sto. Domingo town in Albay, was accused of fraudulently misappropriating Legacy funds and funneling the proceeds for his personal use.
He was confined at the hospital for cancer of the tonsils when the charges against him are still pending in various courts. The warrant of arrest against him was served while he was still at the hospital.
In a press conference, Devanadera said Roxas, who is running for vice president under the Liberal Party, was uninformed of the circumstances surrounding Delos Angeles’ transfer from the hospital to a private residential facility.
“It is too personal, Mr. Senator. We are friends but it is up to him if we are still friends until now,” she told reporters.
Roxas, in his press release, said the decision of Devanadera to place Delos Angeles under house arrest, instead of sending him to jail, reeked of judicial inequity and illustrated the Arroyo administration’s indifference to the plight of victims of injustice in the past nine years.
The DOJ secretary reiterated that the department was not notified of the ruling of Judge Florencia Abbu of Branch 47 of the Cagayan de Oro regional trial court, which granted Delos Angeles’ request to stay out of the hospital.
“It’s not true that the DOJ is colluding with a criminal. The good senator should have requested for a copy of the court ruling which was the basis of the transfer. In all these proceedings, our prosecutors were not notified,” she said.
Devanadera said the court notices were sent to the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, instead of to the DOJ. She said it was only after the court issued the ruling that prosecutors learned about the transfer.
The basis for the issuance of the court’s ruling was that Delos Angeles argued that he should be isolated because of his medical conditions.
She said a copy of the court’s ruling will be sent to Roxas’ office for his perusal.
A motion for reconsideration of the CDO court’s ruling has already been filed by a new panel of prosecutors which have been handling the Legacy scam cases, and similar manifestations were likewise submitted to various courts were these cases were filed.
“There is no reason for the accused to stay out of the hospital. Our position is that if he is sick, he should be at the hospital. If he is no longer sick, then he should be in jail. The prosecutors objected and filed their motion for reconsideration in court. Similar manifestations were also filed in other courts were other Legacy cases are pending to address the dispensation of cases in different manners,” said Devanadera.
Aside from the estafa charges filed by victims of Legacy scam, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. filed charges of syndicated estafa and violation of banking and securities laws after investigating the closure of the pre-need firm and its rural banks. (ECV/Sunnex)