Mancao’s children plead: “Don’t Leave Us Home Alone”

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (May 24) — It is not exactly a grand homecoming and family vacation to look forward to.

All the four young male children of Cezar O. Mancao in their teens, who make up a family “basketball team,” don’t want to be left home alone by their father and their mother in Miami, Florida.

Their only problem is logistics. Can the Philippine Department of Justice budget in the “Witness Protection Program” afford to pay for their airline transportation to the Philippines?

If Mancao, 47, leaves for the Philippines anytime now, there is no better time of the year for his children to join and bond with him as summer vacations for elementary and high schools in the United States are just about to start by late May or early June and last up to Labor Day, the first Monday of September.

Mancao’s lawyer, Arnedo S. Valera, suggested that “the Philippine government should spend for the entire family.”

As of now, the Philippine government agreed to shoulder the airline expenses for Mr. and Mrs. Cezar and Maricar Mancao and himself, Valera said.

“As to the media, it is my position that since the Philippine government had previously agreed to this, then, the media should be allowed to accompany Cezar. All other demands, including a bullet-proof vest for Cezar, will be given to Cezar,” Valera added.

Valera told this reporter in an email Mancao can leave for the Philippines anytime now.

The ball is now in the hands of the Philippine Department of Justice, which will have to coordinate with the U.S. Department of State, for the details of Mancao’s return, Valera said.

He added that he spoke to Philippine Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez and gave him “an update of the deposition. He was very thankful of my representation of Mr. Mancao.”

Valera said, “Cezar, his wife and his family are now prepared to join Mr. Mancao when he leaves the United States at anytime now.

“Maricar, his wife, continues to express calculated fears for the danger Cezar is facing when he returns to the Philippines and it is up to the Philippine Government to guarantee Cezar’s safety and provide him the maximum security from arrival and until his testimony in Philippine Court is completed.”

Valera broke his silence Sunday (May 24), three days after Mancao was deposed for three hours last Thursday, May 21, in Miami.

He said those present at the deposition were Eric T. Kanefsky, Assistant U.S. Attorney representing the Philippine government, Mark A. Berman, attorney for Michael Ray B. Aquino, a clerk stenographer, and himself, private counsel for Mr. Mancao.

“With the completion of his deposition, there is no longer legal obstacle or impediment for his (Mancao’s) extradition,” Valera explained.

He said he was very pleased with Mancao’s “deposition. He (Mancao)  confirmed and reaffirmed the truth of the facts stated in his affidavits of March 1, 2007 and Feb. 14, 2009, pinpointing the involvement of his colleague, Michael Ray B. Aquino, in the double murder of Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel Corbito. He also affirmed that these affidavits were done voluntarily, freely and without undue influence or intimidation from any party. He also maintains his innocence in these crimes.”

He said as counsel for Mancao, during the course of the deposition, “I vehemently registered my objections on the line of questioning of Mr. Mancao that tended to go beyond the scope of the limited discovery ordered by Judge (Esther) Salas.

“Under Judge Salas’ order, the scope of limited discovery in the deposition should relate to explanatory evidence only and not presenting contradictory evidence that has the effect of trying the merits of the Dacer-Corbito double murder case through deposition. Likewise, questions that do not directly relate to the issue of probable cause for purposes of extraditing Aquino are not within the limited scope of discovery in this deposition.”

Valera added: “According to Cezar Mancao, what is important to him right now is: Tell to the best of his personal knowledge what he knows about those who are involved in the Dacer-Corbito case and the direct involvement of Michael Ray Aquino and Dumlao.

“I am a decorated police officer who served my country and helped solved difficult cases involving drug lords and organized syndicates, engaged in kidnapping for ransom.

“If given the opportunity to serve my country again, I will do it.  This is my legacy that I would like to leave my wife and my children”.

“Cezar, who has been engaged in deep Bible and Koran readings, has always affirmed that truth will set him free.”

When Mancao returns, a preliminary investigation will start to determine if there is probable cause that his former superior, General-turned-Senator Panfilo Lacson and former President Joseph Estrada, had conspired in the Dacer-Corbito double murder.

Senator Lacson and former President Estrada had denied involvement in the murders.

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