Wife appeals for gov’t protection for MancaoBy Nimfa U. Rueda
LOS ANGELES, California—The wife of former police Senior Superintendent Cezar Mancao has appealed to the Aquino administration to help protect her husband from Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Speaking through the family’s US-based lawyer, Maricar Mancao said their family feared that Lacson, whom her husband had implicated as the mastermind in the murders of public relations agent Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito, in 2000, would kill him.
“The government made him come home to tell the truth. Now, it has abandoned and discredited him,” said lawyer Arnedo Valera, quoting Maricar Mancao, who lives in Florida. “The government is duty-bound to keep him safe.”
Valera said Maricar Mancao sounded very distraught when she talked to him on the phone on Friday (Saturday in Manila). Maricar, who called Valera’s law office in Washington, D.C., said the family “feels at a loss,” he added.
Mancao, a suspect in the Dacer-Corbito murders, escaped from his cell in the National Bureau of Investigation early Thursday.
He claimed there was a threat to his life and said he would not surrender as long as he felt his life was threatened.
Mancao was scheduled to be transferred to the Manila City Jail Thursday morning on orders from the Manila City Regional Trial Court Branch 18. After his escape, Mancao told journalists that he had learned about a plot to move him to the city jail and kill him there. He said Lacson was behind the plan.
Mancao fled to the United States in 2001. When Mancao was extradited, Valera served as his legal counsel during the extradition hearings.
Mancao returned to the Philippines in 2009 and offered to serve as state witness. Valera, who is also a family friend, accompanied Mancao and his family on their trip back to Manila.
After the Court of Appeals found Mancao unfit to serve as state witness because of inconsistencies in his testimony, the Manila court hearing the case rejected his petition to be accepted as witness for the state.
“(Mancao) came home to tell the truth and extended an apology to the Filipino people,” Valera said. “Unfortunately, he was discredited as a witness, because of influence peddling by those in power who had something to do with the murders.”
Valera urged Mancao to surrender as he appealed to the Aquino administration to protect Mancao and “prosecute the masterminds of these heinous crimes.”
In linking Lacson to the Dacer-Corbito murders, Mancao claimed that the then chief of the Philippine National Police ordered the hit on Dacer because the PR agent had become a fierce critic of then Ppesident Joseph Estrada.
The Department of Justice filed murder charges against Lacson in 2010, but the senator fled the country before the court could order his arrest. He returned to the country in 2011 after the Court of Appeals ordered that the charges against him be dropped.