Court suspends running of 2-month extradition period

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (Apr. 22) – A delayed ruling on whether to grant the petition of Michael Ray B. Aquino to let his co-accused Cesar Mancao II and Glen Dumlao testify in court or issue depositions before May 1, 2009 should not affect the two-month deadline in calculating the extraditions of Mancao and Dumlao.

Judge Esther Salas of the US District of New Jersey in Newark issued an order Monday (April 20) that “from March 27, 2009 until a final ruling is issued on the Emergent Petition, including the exhaustion of any appeals of that ruling,” it “shall be excluded in calculating the time period set forth in (the law, 18 U.S.C. Section 3188) within which the United States must complete the extradition of Cesar Mancao and Glen Dumlao.”

Salas said, “the defendant, through his counsel, has filed an Emergent Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum to obtain the testimony of Cesar Mancao and Glenn Dumlao, which the United States has opposed. The Petition is currently sub judice.

“Cesar Mancao and Glenn Dumlao have previously been ordered extraditable and certificates of extraditability have been issued by US District Courts in Florida and New York for these individuals, respectively.

“There is sufficient cause to toll the time periods set forth within which these individuals would have to be extradited from the United States so that this Court can resolve Aquino’s Emergent Petition.”

It was on March 27, 2009 that Mr. Aquino filed an Emergent Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum to obtain the testimony” of Mancao and Dumlao before Judge Salas.

In opposing the petition, Assistant US Attorney Eric T. Kanefsky told Judge Salas that, “in the event that the Court is inclined to grant defendant’s petition to obtain the testimony of Mancao and Dumlao, the Government respectfully requests that the Court order that such testimony be obtained prior to May 1, 2009.”

Kanefsky explained that a certificate of extraditability was issued as to Mancao on March 3, 2009 by Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow of the Southern District of Florida.

If Mancao is not extradited to the Philippines within two calendar months of the isuance of the certificate of extaditability, he may be released from United States custody.

Aquino, a former Philippine police officer under then General-turned Sen. Panfilo Lacson, was implicated by his subordinates Mancao and Dumlao to have ordered the killing of Dacer and Corbito allegedly on orders of Senator Lacson with clearance from “Malacanang.”

In opposing Aquino’s “emergent petition for writs ad testificandum,” Kanefsky said the District Court of New Jersey should reject the presence of Dumlao and Mancao at Aquino’s extradition hearing, saying that extradition proceedings only determine “whether there exists probable cause to believe that the fugitive has committed the crimes charged in the requesting country.”

Kanefsky said an extradition hearing is like a “preliminary hearing.” It must “not be converted into a trial on the merits, and the rules ordinarily applicable in such trials are not used.” Aquino’s opportunities to oppose the request are limited because his defenses will be aired in the requesting country (The Philippines).

He explained that Aquino “does not have the right to present evidence in order to attempt to rebut the evidence put forth by the Government.” He cannot obtain the presence of Dumlao and Mancao as “two key witnesses” for the expressed purpose of “obliterating the government’s extradition case.”

“Aquino’s right to controvert evidence introduced against him is limited to testimony, which explains rather than contradicts the demanding country’s proof,” according to the 18-page memorandum of Kanefsky.

It was also added that the fugitive cannot suggest to the court “to look behind the extradition request to the motives of the government of the demanding country,” saying that the court cannot “exercise discretion as to whether the criminal charge is a cloak for political action, nor whether the request is made in good faith.”

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