Mancao upset over his delayed return to RP

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (Apr. 23) —  Former Philippine police officer Cesar Ochoco Mancao II is disappointed that the Philippine government cannot press the United States government into treating him as a “state witness and at least accord him the privileges of an ordinary prisoner.”

This sentiment of Mancao was relayed Monday (April 21) to this reporter by Mancao’s lawyer, Arnedo Valera, who said that, “right now the main concern of Cesar and (his wife) Maricar is the (Philippine) government’s failure to help or assist in improving his prison conditions, which are affecting Cesar physically, emotionally and psychologically.”

Valera said that he had earlier “requested the Philippine government to make representations in this regard with the U.S. government” to look into the prison conditions of Mancao.

He added Justice Sec. Raul Gonzales instructed his staff “and even sent Prosecutor Hazel to the U.S. to look into the matter.

“Unfortunately, based on their declaration, they cannot do anything to improve the prison conditions,” Mr. Valera lamented.

“This is, of course, absurd and unacceptable because the Philippine government is in the best position to make representation with the U.S. government to treat Mancao as a state witness and at least accord him the privileges of an ordinary prisoner and be able to mix and talk with the general prison population and not always placed in isolation like a convicted felon.”

Valera issued the statement without mentioning that the United States government is able to prevail upon the Philippine government to let U.S. Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith be detained in the U.S. Embassy premises in Manila even after Smith had already been convicted of raping a Filipina.

Meanwhile, Felix Q. Vinluan, told this reporter recently that he is filing an appeal to the denial of the amended petition for habeas corpus filed by the wife of former Philippine police officer, Glenn G. Dumlao, seeking his release from detention.

Attorney Vinluan said he is going to file the appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Court in New York.

Judge Thomas C. Platt of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip also voided his previous order for Dumlao’s stay of his extradition.

If Vinluan files the appeal, it will further delay the plan of Secretary Gonzales to conduct a preliminary investigation in the Philippines to determine if there is probable cause to include former Philippine National Police Chief now Sen. Panfilo Lacson and former President Estrada as conspirators in the murder of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver’s Emmanuel Corbito.

Meanwhile, Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District of New Jersey in Newark is likely to make a ruling anytime now whether to grant the petition of Michael Ray B. Aquino to let Messrs. Mancao and Dumlao to testify in court or issue depositions in Mr. Aquino’s extradition.

Judge Salas 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.”

In opposing Aquino’s “emergent petition for writs ad testificandum,” the U.S. government 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.”

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