Saturday, March 5, 2011


The Virginia-based lawyer of former police Supt. Cezar Mancao is losing hope the Dacer and Corbito families will win justice under the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Lawyer Arnedo Valera criticized the recent appellate court decision reversing a decision to prosecute Senator Panfilo Lacson for the November 2000 kidnapping and murder of PR practitioner Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.

“At the rate Senator Lacson is being coddled, I don’t think this murder case will be solved under this administration,” he tells this writer.

Senator Lacson had actively campaigned for President Aquino in last year's elections.

“Whoever is protecting Senator Lacson is very powerful,” Valera stressed.

The Court of Appeals 6th Division quashed last month the arrest warrant issued by Manila Regional Trial Court against Senator Lacson, saying there was no basis to file the double murder case against him.

It also dismissed Mancao’s testimony, which pointed to Senator Lacson as the mastermind of the kidnap-slayings.

The 80-page decision was penned by Associate Justice Ramon Bato Jr.

Valera said Bato should have inhibited himself from hearing the case.

“We learned that the one who wrote the decision was recommended by Senator Lacson, even the wife is beholden to Senator Lacson,” he alleged.

Valera added that there are conflicting forces at play in the case.

“Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima has said there is probable cause, that Senator Lacson should have his day in court,” he averred.

“But the process has been cut, the investigation is gone. So we have to go to the Supreme Court but knowing Senator Lacson’s contributions to the present dispensation, he will move heaven and earth for this not to go to trial,” Valera said.

Despite the CA ruling, Senator Lacson has refused to surface.

“We don’t know why he continues to hide when the political atmosphere is already in his favor,” he continued.

He revealed that he is working with California-based lawyer Rodel Rodis to file civil proceedings against Senator Lacson’s alleged properties and bank accounts in the US.

Lacson has denied he has any assets stashed in the US.

When he was still chief of the military Intelligence Service (ISAFP), Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus said they unearthed Lacson’s secret bank accounts in two California banks.

Valera said if they can confirm these bank deposits as well as alleged real estate properties, they can initiate civil proceedings for damages on behalf of the Dacer and Corbito families.

He explained that if this materializes, the court could summon Senator Lacson and raises the possibility his alleged US assets would be seized to pay for any settlement.

But if there is a ray of hope Valera sees, it’s the unwavering stance of Secretary De Lima.

“Whether the case is dismissed against Senator Lacson or if the prosecution proceeds, the fact remains that a heinous crime was committed. Dacer was murdered, Corbito was murdered and this has been going on for several years in a never-ending cycle of investigations that now appears to depend on who is in power in government,” he declared.

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