CHICAGO, (MARCH 28) – Cezar Ochoco Mancao’s lawyer said Friday (March 27) that “there is no legal basis for the delay of the extradition of Cesar Mancao.”
Attorney Arnedo S. Valera said, “All those implicated or named will have their day in court to confront him. If they are truly innocent, then let the wheels of justice begin. This should not be delayed any longer.”
Mr. Valera issued this warning after Magistrate Judge Esther Salas of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark gave due course to the “Emergent Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum” filed by Michael Ray Beguas Aquino’s lawyer Mark A. Berman, seeking “the presence of two key witnesses – Glenn G. Dumlao and Cezar Ochoco Mancao II – at the extradition hearing” of Aquino “to be scheduled in this matter.”
Aquino, Mancao and Dumlao are all subject to extradition to the Philippines to answer for the double murder of Filipino publicist, Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel Corbito, in the Philippines in 2000.
Both Dumlao and Mancao signed affidavits incriminating themselves and implicating Aquino and their superiors, General-turned Sen. Panfilo Lacson and President Estrada.
Judge Salas issued Thursday (March 26) writs of habeas corpus ad testificandum to United States officials having custody of Messrs. Mancao and Dumlao ordering the officials to take the two former Filipino police officers to the U.S. District in Newark within 60 days so they can testify in the extradition case of Mr. Aquino.
The writ for Mancao was issued to the Warden of the Federal Detention Center in Miami, Florida and the U.S. Marshal Service in Newark.
The other writ for Dumlao was issued to James T. Hayes, Director of the Office of Detention and Removal of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement, the Warden of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Marshal’s Service in Newark.
In his petition, Berman said Mr. Dumlao “is listed ‘in transit,’ but is believed to be in a facility in California.”
Berman said, “the government’s case against Aquino rested completely on the tainted statements of these two individuals (Dumlao and Mancao). Their truthful testimony under oath in court would obliterate the government’s extradition case.”
He said “Aquino intends to contest extradition and to call these two witnesses in his defense, as allowed by 18 U.S.C. Section 3191.”
Attorney Valera said, “As far as Col. Cesar Mancao is concerned with the support of Maricar (wife), he is ready to be a state witness and reveal everything he knows about the Dacer-Corbito double murder case.
“I have received letters, requesting for me to delay this. I will stand by my principle. I am not going to be a part of this. Truth and Justice are basic to me.
“Beyond material wealth, this is what every human being should hold. The pursuit of truth and justice should be the calling of every Filipino and all our political leaders.”
Mr. Valera added, “As far as the Philippine Government is concerned, if they are simply using the Mancao case as a political propaganda, I strongly urged them not to do this because again truth may be sacrificed and justice not served. This is an opportunity for our political leadership to show what governance and accountability is all about.
“To all our Senators, Congressmen and local elected officials, they have to make a stand for truth and justice no matter what political affiliation they belong. Our nation’s integrity is again at stake. This is one of those opportunities to show to the world that we, Filipinos, truly care for truth and justice no matter what the cost is.
“Cesar made a conscious decision to reveal the truth not only for his peace of mind, for his family especially Maricar and their children who wanted to live a normal life, but also to be at peace with his faith and his God, and we should welcome this.”
In his petition, Mr. Berman said, “As the Philippines’ extradition notes, Aquino was not initially included in the Philippines murder prosecution. He was later added as a defendant only after he was implicated by Dumlao in a sworn statement. That statement – which was obtained from Dumlao under physical and mental duress and coercion while he was in the Philippine National Police custody – was the sole basis for the charges filed against Aquino in the Philippines.”
When Dumlao was released from custody, Berman said, Dumlao executed a second affidavit recanting the first affidavit that it was obtained by means of “threats, intimidation and physical force.”
Berman said the “U.S. Attorney’s office had multiple meetings with Dumlao, at which he was pressured to recant his recantation and provide the government with a third affidavit containing statements akin to those that had been forcefully elicited from him by agents of the administration of Philippines President Gloria Arroyo.”
The third affidavit described Dumlao’s fear at being “tortured and abused by the Aquino Administration.”
He added Mancao’s statement on March 2007, “recounting statements alleged to have been made by Aquino at a Las Vegas hotel in August, 2001, regarding Dacer and Corbito’s disappearance” was also obtained “under similar threats of prosecution and deportation.”