May 062013
Investigators are currently zeroing in on the coddlers of fugitive murder suspect Cezar Mancao II, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday.

“I don’t think mag-isa siya (Mancao). May kasama siya [at] may ibang nagpo-protekta sa kaniya. Iyon ngayon ang pinapahanap ko,” De Lima said.

De Lima also said they are determining Mancao’s possible real agenda in escaping, among these to put the Department of Justice in bad light and to push for his candidacy for local position in Compostela Valley, his home province.

Mancao, a suspect in the high-profile Dacer-Corbito double murder case, escaped from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) compound last Thursday, the same day he was about to be transferred to the Manila City Jail.

In various interviews after his escape, Mancao cited fear for his life as reason for his escape.

De Lima said Mancao could have another agenda for escaping, although investigators have yet to confirm this.

“I hope wala nang ibang agenda. Ang sinasabi niya kaya siya tumakas dahil mamamatay lang siya sa city jail,” De Lima said. “Pero what if kung may mga tao na ibang agenda na somehow maa-access siya?”

Sabotage the DOJ

De Lima noted the possibility that Mancao’s escape was part of a plan to “sabotage” the DOJ and the NBI. “Ayoko nag-iisip ng ganoon. Pero I also want to think ahead. Sa trabahong ito, hindi puwedeng hindi ka paranoid paminsan-minsan,” she said

She said whoever could be coddling Mancao probably wants to “destroy the reputation and put to shame” the DOJ and the NBI.

De Lima warned that these individuals would be slapped with obstruction of justice charges if  they are caught.

Apart from shaming the DOJ, De Lima said Mancao’s escape could also be connected to his electoral bid to become a board member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in Compostela Valley.

According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Mancao is running as an independent in Compostela Valley’s first district. He is up against six candidates.

“Ewan ko nga kung coincidence lang or kasama iyon sa plano niya,” De Lima said. “Malaman-laman na lang namin kandidato pala siya. Hindi namin alam iyon. Siyempre hindi naman siya nakapagkampanya kasi nakakulong siya.”

Asked which among the possible motives she cited could be the most probable, De Lima said: “Puwedeng all of the above.” Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News

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