CA clears Michael Ray in Dacer slay

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the dismissal of the double murder case against former police senior superintendent Michael Ray Aquino in connection with the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2000.

In a 49-page decision released yesterday, the appellate court’s Ninth Division upheld the December 2012 ruling of the Manila regional trial court dismissing the charges against Aquino by granting his plea for immediate verdict on the case due to insufficiency of evidence.

The CA junked the petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) assailing the lower court’s ruling.

The trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that the testimony of state witness, former superintendent Glenn Dumlao, against Aquino was baseless, the CA declared.

“In the instant case, the trial court concluded that the lone testimony of Dumlao is insufficient to prove the involvement of Aquino in the kidnapping and killing of the victims.

Associate Justices Magdangal de Leon and Eduardo Peralta Jr. concurred with the ruling penned by Associate Justice Stephen Cruz.

The appellate court agreed with the lower court that Dumlao was not an eyewitness in the killing of Dacer and Corbito, and that his testimony was based on circumstantial evidence.

 It pointed out that the rule on circumstantial evidence is that “if the testimony is uncorroborated, it does not suffice.”

The CA noted that Dumlao’s testimony – even if given full credence – would not suffice to prove beyond reasonable doubt Aquino’s involvement in the crime.

The CA earlier dismissed the petition of fugitive former police senior superintendent Cezar Mancao to be cleared in the Dacer-Corbito case.

The DOJ had accepted Mancao as state witness after he implicated former senator and now rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, Dumlao and Aquino in the crime.

Lacson, tagged as one of the alleged masterminds in the twin killings, had been cleared by the CA. The CA ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Mancao escaped from the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation last year after the court junked his request to be allowed to serve as a state witness, which led to his removal from the Witness Protection Program.

Aquino was ordered released from jail after the Manila court dismissed the case against him.

The court discharged Dumlao as a state witness, making Mancao the only principal accused in the double murder case.

AQUINO ASSOCIATE JUSTICE STEPHEN CRUZ ASSOCIATE JUSTICES MAGDANGAL CEZAR MANCAO COURT COURT OF APPEALS DACER AND CORBITO DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DUMLAO MANCAO
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