Dacer Children Seek Millions In Compensation; Await Judge’s Ruling

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jFAXX) —  Although, their father had been murdered more than 13 years ago, the Dacer siblings still miss Salvador “Bubby” Dacer to this day, especially around Christmas season when he would give them generous gifts.

In court filings during and after the one-day bench trial last Nov. 18, Dacer siblings’ Filipino American lawyers Rodel Rodis and Errol Zshornack told Judge William Alsup of the United States District Court of the Northern District of California in San Francisco that, “Their father was extremely generous to them because they were all girls and their father was of the belief that his daughters should be prepared to live on their own in the event their husbands (all Plaintiffs except for Carina were married) left them.”

Carina Dacer told Judge Alsup, who tried one of the killers of Dacer, Michael Ray Aquino, in absentia, their mother died in 1981, when she was only ten years old, leaving their doting father as the sole breadwinner for them during most of their lives until he was kidnapped by Aquino’s subordinate policemen in November 2000 in Manila.

Carina said for housing expenses each of them received a total of $106,800. Annual expenses to them for gifts birthdays and Christmas celebrations totaled some $8,000.

She said funeral expenses for their father’s funeral totaled $10,000.

Carena said their father was in good health and that his only health issues were occasional sinus problems and so was likely to live for a long time if he were not murdered.

Carina also testified on their non-economic losses consisting of the hardships they had to endure in leaving everything behind in the Philippines, which included their respective careers, lifestyle and all they were familiar with, the separation from friends, family, the hassles of relocating to the US.

They also had fears and had anxieties while in the Philippines shortly after their father’s murder, the uncertainty of what lies ahead in their future in the U.S. since they had to start over, the loss of the expected benefit of having their father to advise them on work and business, considering the vast network of friends their father had in the Philippines.

Her lawyers said the Dacer siblings could not possibly assign a value to these non-economic losses and they leave this matter to the sound discretion of the court.

But for economic losses, the Dacer children pegged the value at $5,407,600.

TVPA, U.S.’s COMMITMENT TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS AROUND THE WORLD

Because Judge Alsup found in favor of the Dacer children that the former Filipino police superintendent Aquino was in violation of the children’s TVPA (Torture Victim Protection Act, a law signed by first President George H. W. Bush in 1992 which sent the United States’ “strong commitment to advancing respect for and protection of human rights throughout the world,” Aquino is likely to be handed a major monetary adverse judgment.

The highest total compensation awarded so far for this kind of crime that involves human rights violations was $11.1-Million in compensation, including lost earnings, in 1988 in the case of Martinez-Baca v. Suarez-Mason, No. 87-2057.

The Dacer siblings, Carina Dacer, Sabina Dacer-Reyes, Amparo Dacer-Henson and Emily Dacer-Hungerford, are seeking at least $10-Million in compensatory damages, covering both their economic and non-economic losses, for Aquino’s violation of their TVPA.

But they are also seeking punitive damages in the amount of at least $50-Million.

Aquino was supposed to have other co-accused to share in paying up the expected  compensatory and punitive damages but the Dacer’s lawyers could not serve the summons to his co-accused, prompting them to drop them as co-defendants for now.

Only Aquino, who was at the time serving a 76-month jail sentence for spying in New Jersey, was served the summons and had answered the civil complaint filed before Judge Alsup.

Rodis said summon servers were afraid to serve summonses to Aquino’s co-accused and alleged masterminds former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and former Philippine National Police Chief General-turned Senator and now a powerful Disaster Rehabilitation Czar of the Aquino government for fear of their dear lives.

Other co-accused are still at large. They are former Estrada’s PAGCOR Chair Reynaldo “Butch” Tenorio, Estrada businessman friend, Dante Tan, former Aquino’s subordinate police Chief Inspector Vicente Arnado and “Does 1-100 inclusive.”

MAYOR ESTRADA, SECRETARY LACSON BOTH DENY AS MURDER MASTERMINDS

Mayor Estrada and Secretary Lacson, however, both denied playing a part in the murder of Dacer and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel Corbito.

Because the Dacers did not have the confidence of getting a fair trial in the Philippines, instead of filing criminal and civil cases in the Philippines, they decided to file the civil case in the U.S., where all of them are now residing.

If Aquino would be heavily pinned to suffer the monetary consequence of the murder of the former provincial journalist, who turned into prominent public relations practitioner in the Philippines, the filing of the civil case in U.S. appears also to be all his undoing.

According to court records, “Aquino’s role in the offense clearly demonstrates that he was a manager or supervisor of a common plan to advance Lacson’s agenda to remove (former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo from power. In 2004, Aquino knew that (now Senator) JV Ejercito was attempting to unite former Pres. Estrada with others opposed to Pres. Arroyo, including Sen. Lacson.”

It was Aquino’s conspiracy to topple Arroyo from power even if was already in New York that caused him to conspire with former Filipino American U.S. Marine Leandro Aragoncillo to obtain classified and secret U.S. government documents at the proddings of Estrada’s friend, former Filipino Rep. Albano, that will tell “U.S. government’s views of the current situation in the Philippines.” Mr. Albano appealed  to Aragoncillo’s “sense of loyalty” to the Philippines although Aragoncillo had already become a U.S. Citizen.

Aquino and Aragoncillo’s conspiracy was broken up in 2005 and led to their arrest.

If Aquino did not follow the advice of Sec. Lacson to flee to the U.S. after the Arroyo government charged him with murder, he would not have been named in the civil suit in the U.S. TVPA is only filed against the accused who set foot in the U.S. And it can only be filed by a U.S. resident. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

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