Court Denies Dumlao’s Release, Stay of Extradition

CHICAGO (Apr. 15) – Judge Thomas C. Platt of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip Monday (April 6) denied the amended petition for habeas corpus filed by the wife of former Philippine police officer Glenn Galapon Dumlao, seeking his release from detention.

Judge Platt also vacated his previous order for Dumlao’s stay of his extradition.

A three-page order made public only on Monday (April 13) by Judge Platt said that, “The Court takes no position on whether Mr. Dumlao should be allowed to remain in the United States during the pendency of his asylum petition as that issue is not before this Court.”

The order denying the petition of Merlyn Cejo, Dumlao’s wife, did not even consider the suggestion of Dumlao’s lawyer, Felix Q. Vinluan, that should Dumlao be set free, Dumlao should be issued a writ of subpoena ad testificandum for Mr. Dumlao to appear and testify in the extradition case of Dumlao’s colleague, Michael Ray B. Aquino.

Mr. Aquino had earlier requested the U.S. District Court in New Jersey for the presence of Mr. Dumlao and their other colleague, Mr. Cesar Ochoco Mancao II, to appear and testify in his extradition hearing. The Court has yet to make a decision on Mr. Aquino’s request.

Mr. Dumlao’s lawyer, however, clarified that Mr. Dumlao was not “volunteering to testify in Aquino’s case.” Atty. Felix Q. Vinluan said in his pleading he submitted to Judge Platt, “if Dumlao were to be ordered to testify in Aquino’s case, it would be preferred by our client that he be ordered to testify while he was outside detention.  He is not volunteering to testify.  If he were issued a writ of subpoena (the preferred mode) or a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum (which Mr. Mark Berman, Aquino’s lawyer, had requested, as did Mr. Mancao’s counsel in his own extradition case in Florida), then Dumlao would have no choice but to testify.”

The latest order of Judge Platt should be a welcome news for the prosecution in the Philippines, which is waiting for the extradition of the Messrs. Dumlao, Aquino and Mancao to pave the way for the re-opening of a preliminary investigation to determine if probable cause exists to include in the indictment their superiors, then Philippine National Police Chief now Sen. Panfilo Lacson and then President Joseph Estrada as conspirators in the kidnapping and murder of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel Corbito in 2000.

In filing the petition, Mrs. Cejo said that her husband, Mr. Dumlao, 45, should be released from detention because her husband has been detained by the U.S. government beyond the two months allowed by the Philippine-U.S. extradition treaty after he was certified for extradition.

Judge Platt said, “Mr. Dumlao was detained on Dec. 10, 2008 pursuant to the order of Magistrate Judge Tomlinson’s Order. For the time period Jan. 9, 2009 thru Feb. 23, 2009, Mr. Dumlao was detained, pursuant to Judge Snow’s writ, so he could give testimony.

“Mr. Dumlao was scheduled to be picked up and transported by agents from the Philippines on March 20, 2009. Thus, the Court finds that other than the time period while he was under restriction from Judge Snow, the sixty (60) days time period has not elapsed.

“Accordingly, petitioner’s amended petition for the immediate release of her husband, Mr. Dumlao, is hereby DENIED and the stay preventing the extradition of Mr. Dumlao is hereby VACATED.”

In his petition, Vinluan argued that the only instance that Dumlao could be continuously held under detention is when Mr. Dumlao has a “pending or new domestic criminal charges,” which Dumlao does not have.

Vinluan earlier assured Judge Platt that Mr. Dumlao will not be a flight risk because “he fears returning to his home country, the Philippines,” as Dumlao has “reasonable grounds to believe he (Dumlao) will be tortured again by Philippine Security officers.”

Dumlao, Vinluan added, does not even have his Philippine passport that was taken away from him by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers who filed removal proceedings against him. He intends to stay in the U.S. with his U.S. citizen spouse, the petitioner, Mrs. Cejo.

He said his argument is uncontested that the U.S. is duty-bound not to extradite Dumlao under both the U.N. Convention Against Torture and the U.S.’s Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act because Dumlao will be tortured if returned to the Philippines.

Another argument against Dumlao’s extradition is his pending asylum application and withholding removal before an Immigration Judge. Vinluan said this is a proof that Dumlao’s fear of returning to his home country is not raised for the first time in his habeas corpus petition.

Dumlao, along with fellow police officers Messrs. Mancao and Aquino, left the Philippines in 2001 almost a year after they were implicated in the Dacer-Corbito double murder. All the three of them are subject to extradition to the Philippines.

Mancao and Dumlao had implicated Aquino, their former superior, now Sen. Panfilo Lacson and “Malacanang” and/or “Bigote” to have conspired in the double murder of Dacer and Corbito.

Mr. Vinluan refused to comment on the latest Judge Platt’s order.

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