CHICAGO (June 7) – Former Philippine police officer Cezar Ochoco Mancao II would like to discuss “some important issues” with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo or Justice Secretary Raul S. Gonzalez in the presence of his lawyer and his wife that will affect his decision to turn into state witness, according to Mancao’s lawyer.
Arnedo S. Valera, however, did not disclose the “issues” his client wants to take up with the President. Valera hinted Mancao still wants to be given another chance to rejoin the government service, saying, “Iyan ang trabaho ko. Inalay ko ang buhay ko sa paglilingkod bilang isang pulis. Binigyan ako ng parangal sa lahat ng magagandang nagawa ko. Kaya sana ay muli akong makapaglingkod sa bayan.” (That’s my job. I dedicated my life to the police service. I have been recipient of numerous awards and commendations. I hope I will be given another chance to perform public service.)
In an email to this reporter, Valera said he spoke to Mancao Friday (June 5) over the cell phone of his mother. He said Mancao was pleased with the “security being provided to him so far.
“In his usual calm voice, Cezar is very thankful to the media, who covered him in his arrival. He now knows that the media, who came with him, are indeed interested in his own physical safety and security.”
Valera added Mancao does not want to talk about the details of his testimony at this time as he awaits the arrival of his counsel (myself) and his wife, Maricar.”
Mancao arrived last Thursday, June 4, amid one of the tightest and most elaborate security preparations in recent memory. He returned to the Philippines escorted by the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation officials after he was turned over by the U.S. Marshals at the Los Angeles International Airport in California.
His departure came shortly after making a deposition that will be submitted at the extradition trial of his colleague, former police officer Michael Ray B. Aquino, on July 1. Their other colleague, Glenn Galapon Dumlao, is scheduled to be deposed on June 22. The three of them are co-accused in the murders of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel Corbito.
In his deposition, Mancao implicated his former superior General-turned-Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and former President Joseph Estrada in the double murder. Both Lacson and Estrada denied the accusations.
Dumlao’s is going to be deposed at the San Bernardino Central Detention Center in southern California, where Dumlao is detained, in the presence of Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Todd Kanefsky, the Assistant United States Attorney representing the Philippine government.
Dumlao’s deposition is going to be presented at Aquino’s extradition trial before Judge Esther Salas of the United District Court of New Jersey in Newark.
If Dumlao, 45, affirms his first hand-written affidavit at the deposition, Judge Salas could find probable cause to extradite Mr. Aquino to the Philippines. But if Dumlao affirms the second affidavit, where he recanted the contents of the first affidavit, it might work in favor of Aquino.
But the deposition of their fellow officer, Mancao, 47, appears to be working against Mr. Aquino.
According to Mancao’s lawyer, Valera, Mancao stuck by his two previous affidavits linking Aquino in the conspiracy to the Dacer-Corbito murders during Mancao’s deposition.
As a result, the Philippine Department of Justice is considering Mancao to turn into a “state witness” when a preliminary investigation starts in earnest in the Philippines. It will determine if probable cause exists to include in the indictment of Lacson and Estrada as conspirators in the kidnapping and murder of Dacer and Corbito in 2000.