Mancao’s Fathers’ Day Gift

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (June 21) – On this Father’s Day, Sunday, Cezar O. Mancao is one happy camper.

Through his lawyer, Arnedo S. Valera, Mancao said, “maligaya ako at kapiling ko si Maricar at ang aking mga anak, aking mga magulang, kapatid at mga kaibigan. Ako ay nakahanda pa ring maglingkod sa ating bayan kung kinakailangan.” (I am happy to be with my Maricar and our children, my parents, siblings and friends. And I am still ready to return to serve the public if needed.”)

At the same time, Valera, who acts as spokesman of the Mancao’s legal defense team, said they will oppose the transfer of Mr. Mancao from the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation to the Manila city jail pending approval of Mancao’s application as a state witness.

Valera said the motion of the counsels of “other co-accused, including counsel of Sen. Panfilo Lacson,” will be “vehemently opposed” as Mancao needed to be under the “control of the Department of Justice” and its agency, NBI, that supervises the government witness protection program. The other members of the defense legal team are lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Bernard Vitrolio.

In an email to this reporter, Valera said, “The arguments being presented by them to transfer him to the city jail like the other co-accused has no legal basis. They are presenting flimsy arguments that Cezar is being treated as a VIP living in a five-star hotel…

“I have been there in his NBI compound, I tell you that it is decent but nowhere is it near a five-star hotel. There are not even windows in his room. At least, he can receive visitors and family members.”

Valera added, “his movements remain restricted. This is for his safety and security. The DOJ is doing the right thing. This is an integral part of what we have demanded. That is, that he be provided with a maximum security until the completion of his testimony.”

The Filipino American lawyer also paid tribute to the “security being provided by the NBI from the time of our arrival up to this day. They have detailed and assigned agents with us to secure our safety.”

Valera said during the arraignment hearing, he requested “to reschedule Mancao’s arraignment as we are forming a new legal team for Cezar Mancao for his legal representation. I will continue to remain as the legal spokesperson for the Mancao family.”

He said he is “very confident that the new Secretary of Justice will expeditiously move for the declaration of my client Cezar as a state witness and then simultaneously move for his discharge.”  The arraignment is rescheduled on June 30.  Valera added their arrival was “a very emotional family reunion with Maricar and their four children, including close family members.  Cezar and Maricar wanted to request the media to respect the family privacy during the duration of their stay.

He also said Cezar is very thankful to the media for their sincerity and show of support to him.  He once again reiterated that he needs to complete his mission in helping resolve the Dacer-Corbito double murder cases and he is ready to tell what he knows.  He knows that God is with him.

Valera said Mancao also would like to thank the Filipino people, specially those who have supported his return to become as a state witness in the conspiracy in the double murder of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel Corbito, in 2000.

Mancao executed affidavits implicating his colleagues in the Philippine police force, Glenn G. Dumlao, Michael Ray B. Aquino, then General-turned Senator Lacson and former President Joseph Estrada.

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