Ferdinand Topacio noted how all the principal accused in the case, except Mancao, had already been cleared from charges and are now living normal lives.
“It is becoming exceedingly ironic that many of the principal accused in the Dacer-Corbito Double Murder Case have been able to assume normal lives, while a person who has risked his all for the government to be able to pursue the prosecution of the case – former Colonel Cezar Mancao — remains detained and jobless,” said Topacio.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, allegedly one of the masterminds in the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000, has already been cleared by the Court of Appeals in a ruling that was later on upheld by the Supreme Court.
The SC said the Dacer family can no longer appeal the CA’s decision because the government, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, has decided to forego its opportunity to file an appeal.
Another suspect, former Superintendent Glenn Dumlao, has already been reinstated in the Philippine National Police and has recently been embroiled in a controversial encounter between security forces and suspected criminals in Atimonan, Quezon.
Meanwhile, former police intelligence officer Michael Ray Aquino has recently been ordered released by a Manila court and is reportedly seeking reinstatement as a police officer, according to Topacio.
Topacio said he wrote Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on June 6, 2012 asking for the dismissal of the murder charges against Mancao “since he has already complied with all that the Department of Justice has obliged him to do as state witness.”
“The results of the case against Sen. Lacson and others are immaterial, since the law does not so provide and they are matters beyond Mr. Mancao’s control. Sadly, the DOJ has not acted on our request until now,” he added.
De Lima has yet to respond to GMA News Online’s request for her to comment on Topacio’s appeal.
Aquino, Mancao and Dumlao all fled to the US following the Dacer-Corbito killings.
In May 2001, the DOJ filed murder charges against Dumlao and several other police officer in connection with the Dacer-Corbito killings. In September that year, Mancao and Aquino were added to the list of suspects. However, it was only in 2008 when the DOJ, then under the leadership of Raul Gonzalez, started extradition proceedings for Mancao, Dumlao, and Aquino.
Mancao and Dumlao were extradited in 2009, while Aquino decided to seek court action to fight his extradition. After staying in the US for 10 years, he was finally extradited to the Philippines and was detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The prosecution in the double murder case had earlier tried but failed to have Mancao discharged and be turned into a state witness. This led to his removal from the Witness Protection Program (WPP) and eventual detention.
Topacio expressed fears that future state witnesses would be “discouraged and disheartened” to testify for the government because of Mancao’s continued incarceration.
“It is grossly unfair and unjust for someone who has kept his part of the bargain, so to speak, to be the one still charged of murder and kept under government custody, while the principal accused who have either fought the DOJ or reneged on their promise to testify for the State (in the case of Mr. Dumlao) are scot-free and have rehabilitated themselves,” Topacio said. — KBK, GMA News