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Ping gave hit order on Dacer - Mancao

Lacson (left) and Mancao

MANILA, Philippines - Former police senior superintendent Cezar Mancao has named Sen. Panfilo Lacson as the mastermind in the murders of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito eight years ago.

This was among the allegations made by Mancao in an affidavit he signed last Feb. 14 in Broward County, Florida in the United States, reliable sources revealed.

The sources disclosed the contents of the affidavit as preparations are being made for Mancao’s expected arrival in the country following his extradition from the US.

Among others, sources revealed Mancao was present when Lacson allegedly gave the hit order to then police senior superintendent Michael Ray Aquino.

Lacson headed the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) while concurrently chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Aquino, on the other hand, was operations chief of the PAOCTF while Mancao served as chief of Task Force Luzon of the PAOCTF.

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Lacson has denied allegations that he ordered the killing of Dacer. He also expressed confidence that Mancao would not implicate him in the murders.

The senator accused Malacañang of pressuring Mancao to sign an affidavit to link him in the murders since they had the motive to discredit him before the public.

Lacson declared he is ready to face accusations implicating him in the double murder case.

Mancao said that it was sometime in October 2000 that he heard Lacson ask Aquino, “Noy, kelan ba titirahin si Delta (When do we hit Delta),” apparently referring to Dacer’s given codename.

Aquino replied, “U-unahin na muna namin si Bero (former police intelligence chief Reynaldo Berroya) malapit na kami sa kanya (we will hit Berroya first, we are already close).”

Lacson, according to Mancao, replied, “Pagsabayin na ninyo sila…(hit them both simultaneously).”

Mancao made the affidavit in agreement with Dacer’s daughter Carina to reveal the principal players in the kidnapping and murder of her father eight years ago.

Carina met Mancao during his extradition hearing at Fort Lauderdale in Florida two weeks ago.

A lawyer of Dacer’s family said Mancao had revealed in the affidavit the details and names behind the gruesome crime in November 2000.

Mancao had even signed an “Affidavit of Consent to Extradition” during the hearing where he agreed to be sent back to the Philippines under the extradition treaty with the US government.

Escaping the wrath

In the same affidavit, Mancao stated that he was advised by Lacson to lie low, expecting the Dacer-Corbito case to be revived under the new administration of President Arroyo.

“In May of 2001 (when) Panfilo Lacson was elected senator, Michael Aquino acted as a campaign coordinator for Lacson by overseeing campaign contributions, posters, and other campaign media.

“Shortly after winning the seat (in the Senate), a meeting was held where Panfilo Lacson advised Aquino and I that we should leave the country. He told us that the new presidential administration would go after us in the Dacer-Corbito case,” Mancao stated.

Mancao said he followed Lacson’s instructions. On July 1, 2001, he left the country and flew to Hong Kong where he met up with Aquino.

From there, they flew to the US where they lived together for three months until they settled separately. Mancao said he settled in Florida while Aquino stayed in New Jersey.

“Michael Aquino and I kept in touch with each other and met with Sen. Lacson several times over the next two years,” he said.

Mancao detailed the meetings with Lacson took place in Washington in October 2001, New York in January 2002, Los Angeles and Las Vegas in January 2003 and in Miami in September 2003.

“It was during this September ’03 meeting in Miami that I heard Sen. Lacson instructing Michael Ray Aquino to search for US real estate properties in the name of Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of the Philippine President, Gloria Arroyo,” Mancao said.

Lacson believed that any information against the First Gentleman would help him in discrediting the Arroyo administration, according to Mancao.

“One day after lunch, Michael Aquino brought me to Lacson’s room in the hotel. Lacson then asked Aquino what he got and Aquino showed Lacson some documents with addresses of suspected properties. Lacson reviewed the documents and appeared unsatisfied. He asked Aquino to continue searching,” Mancao said.

‘Oxi’

Mancao claimed he overheard Lacson ordering Aquino while he was seated in the front seat of the car.

He said Lacson and Aquino were at the back seat talking while on their way to a restaurant in Greenhills, San Juan.

In the affidavit, Mancao mentioned a certain Reynaldo Lopez Oximoso Sr. alias “Oxi as the driver of the vehicle.

The source stressed the need to locate Oximoso and have him placed under the government protection, particularly after the announcement of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez that Mancao and former police senior superintendent Glenn Dumlao are set to arrive home from their extradition from the US.

Dumlao was deputy chief for operations of PAOCTF’s Task Group Luzon.

Dumlao had issued an affidavit in May 2003 stating there was “pressure” on him to pin down Lacson and other opposition leaders in the murders.

In the affidavit, Dumlao claimed he was “forced to draft and redraft affidavits” that would link Lacson, Aquino and Mancao to alleged illegal activities, including the celebrated Kuratong Baleleng rubout case.

Dumlao said he was forced to issue the affidavit when he was under detention with the Philippine National Police-Intelligence Group (PNP-IG) on June 4-12, 2001.

He said he was subjected to tactical interrogation by the police and military.

Dumlao accused then PNP-IG chief Berroya of supervising the interrogations.

Berroya served as chief of the PNP-IG that initially investigated the disappearances of Dacer and Corbito. He was also mentioned by Mancao in his affidavit as among the targets for liquidation by Lacson.

Dumlao earlier issued a handwritten sworn statement before the Quezon City prosecutor’s office in June 2001, saying he was “given a tasking” by Aquino to conduct “discreet background investigation” on Dacer.

Secretary Gonzalez, on the other hand, said yesterday Dumlao made another handwritten affidavit affirming his first statement in 2001.

“The first affidavit of Dumlao was in his own handwriting while the recantation that Lacson is talking about is typewritten. The last affidavit that he gave is his own handwriting affirming his first affidavit. This will come out in due time,” Gonzalez pointed out.

In his affidavit, sources said, Dumlao detailed the task of kidnapping Dacer was given to Chief Inspector Vicente Arnado, an operative of PAOCTF Task Force Luzon.

Gonzalez earlier ordered the manhunt for Arnado and the driver of the vehicle that took Dacer and Corbito to Cavite.

Gonzalez said Arnado and the driver, apparently referring to Oximoso, were “clearly involved” and had “direct participation” in the murders.

“I am calling on Oximoso to come out and see me. Let us hear what he has to say. After evaluating his testimony, if there is probative value and he agrees, I will put him under the Witness Protection Program,” Gonzalez said.

Botched job

On Nov. 24, 2000, Dacer and Corbito were snatched at the corner of Zobel Roxas Street and South Super Highway at the boundary of Manila and Makati. They were subsequently brought to Indang, Cavite where they were killed and their bodies burned.

Arnado reportedly led the team that snatched Dacer and Corbito and was tasked to meet up with senior superintendent Teofilo Vina, chief of Task Force Visayas of the PAOCTF.

Mancao’s sworn statement had revealed a meeting at a hotel in Las Vegas in August 2001 where Aquino was blaming Vina for a sloppy job in disposing Dacer’s vehicle.

Dacer’s white Toyota Revo, on the other hand, was found dumped in a ravine in a remote village in Cavite, several days after the publicist and his driver had disappeared.

On Jan. 7, 2003, Vina was shot and killed in Tanza, Cavite by a lone gunman identified as Medar Cruz, a balikbayan from Virginia, in the US.

Vina had just arrived at the residence of a friend in Tanza when Cruz appeared and fired in rapid succession killing the former police officer.

According to Chief Superintendent Roberto Rosales, who was then the police provincial director of Cavite, their initial investigation revealed Cruz arrived in the country on Dec. 27, 2002.

He said Cruz was accompanied by another balikbayan, identified as Renato Josue Arenas from San Diego, California, who arrived in the country several days after.

Rosales said the murder weapon was bought at a gun store in New Jersey and smuggled into the country by Arenas.

Cruz was subsequently arrested but Arenas managed to escape to the US. A warrant for his arrest was issued.

There were theories that Vina was about to spill the beans on the Dacer-Corbito case before he was murdered.

Vina was reportedly telling a fellow police officer that he feared for his life after another colleague, Superintendent John Campos was killed in Parañaque on Dec. 6, 2002.

A senior state prosecutor of the Department of Justice revealed the case against Cruz was dismissed after the family of Vina agreed on the settlement of the case.

The prosecutor claimed he personally witnessed how Vina was shot during the gathering in Tanza.

Rosales, on the other hand, confirmed the settlement of the Vina slaying while Cruz remained in the country.

Gonzalez said he placed Cruz under the watch-list to prevent him from the leaving the country and testify before the three-man panel reinvestigating the Dacer-Corbito double murder case.

The police officers implicated in the murders include Arnado, Senior Police Officers 4 (SPO4) Benjamin Taladua, William Reed, Digo de Pedro, SPOs1 Rolando Lacansdile and Mario Sarmiento.

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