Fil Am Lawyer Pleased Mancao Was Made State Witness

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (July 1)  —  The Filipino American lawyer of Cezar Ochoco Mancao was pleased that the Philippine Department of Justice kept its pledge to let Mr. Mancao become a state witness.

Arnedo S. Valera, of Fairfax, Virginia, told this reporter in an email that “Mancao’s acceptance as a state witness is one clear indication that the Philippine Government is really interested in resolving the Dacer-Corbito double murder cases.  Cezar Mancao’s testimony is crucial and a key in this case. Cezar’s position has been to tell the truth no matter what, and that justice be served.”

Valera added, “We are expecting the Department of Justice that after the appropriate motion for his discharge and his testimony completed, all criminal charges against him will be dismissed, and of course, he can go back to the U.S in case he decides to.”

As to the possibility if Mancao will get his wish to be reinstated to the Philippine National Police force, Valera said, it is going to be a “political decision.”

Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera has approved Mancao’s request to be placed under the government’s witness protection program (WPP), citing the weight of his testimony and the threats to his life.

“The requirement of the law (for the WPP) is that there must be the testimony and it must be very material (to the case). And there should also be a serious threat to his life and his family’s life. Mancao has met both criteria,” Devanadera told reporters.

Mancao also pleaded “not guilty” when arraigned June 30 before the Manila Regional Trial Court, where he is co-accused in the double murder of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver’s Emmanuel Corbito.

Valera believes Mancao deserves another crack at wearing the police uniform as he has been a “decorated police officer.  He solved significant cases involving big time criminal syndicates and drug trafficking.”

Valera said, “I am sure, that his resolve to be one of the best police officers in our country remains.  He is one of those police officers who can make a lot of positive changes in the operations of the police force and can introduce reforms in the military that will be beneficial to ordinary citizens and to the peace and order as a whole.”

He described Mr. Mancao as “a very intelligent man and in years have changed some of his perspectives in terms of what it really means to truly serve his country and the Filipino people.

“The government should welcome him with open arms to the police force.”

As to Cezar’s family, Valera said, Maricar and his children will always be fully supportive of whatever is the decision of Cezar.

“As a family man, Cezar knew the importance of Maricar and his children,” he said.

As Cezar always says in his prayer during his solitude:  “I wanted to leave a legacy to my children and to the Filipino people.  I have a calling and a mission.  If that is to serve my country again and the Filipino people, I will do it with all my heart. My family will understand me.”

But it will be up to Cezar to balance these things and hopefully he makes the right decision, Valera added.

After testifying, there should be no obstacle for Cezar to come back or travel anywhere Cezar wants. The family will be back in the United States just in time for the beginning of the school or earlier,” Valera concluded.

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