MANILA, Philippines — The daughters of slain publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer have filed a US$50-million damage suit against former President Joseph Estrada, Senator Panfilo Lacson, and others before a United States (US) court in connection with the November, 2000 killing of their father and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.
In a press statement, Carina and Sabina Dacer said they filed the damage suit before the US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco for compensatory and punitive damages.
“The damages were filed for the cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment, torture, and extra-judicial killing of their father,” said the Dacer sisters.
Also named as defendants were Reynaldo “Butch” Tenorio, former head and chief executive officer of the Philippine Games and Amusement Corp. (Pagcor); businessman Dante Tan; former Senior Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino; former Superintendent Glenn Dumlao; and former Chief Inspector Vicente Arnado.
Tan was implicated in the BW stock manipulation scandal while Aquino remains detained in a US prison while waiting for the decision of his extradition case pending in a US court. Aquino had served his sentence for espionage.
In filing the damage suit, the Dacer siblings cited as their legal basis the Alien Tort Claims Act and Torture Victim Protection Act, which are both American statutes.
According to the Dacer sisters, the statutes allowed the US courts to hear cases of human rights abuses brought by foreign citizens against officials of a foreign government for conduct committed anywhere in the world.
Dacer was a publicist in the Philippines.
His clients included many of the top figures in Philippine politics, notably former Presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Estrada.
He and his driver Corbito were abducted in Makati City and were later killed, and their vehicle dumped.
Lacson, former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and former head of the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF), was also tagged as one of the masterminds in the abduction-slays.
Two days before the filing of the case in court, Lacson flew to Hong Kong via Cathay flight CX-904. Judge Myra Fernandez, then Manila RTC Branch 18 presiding judge, issued a warrant of arrest on February 5, 2010.
The DoJ gave credence to the affidavit submitted by former Senior Superintendent Cezar Mancao II, the physical evidence gathered from the crime scene, and affidavits of other witnesses which have already been presented as part of the evidence of the prosecution against other accused who are now under trial at the Manila RTC.
Mancao, in his affidavit, accused Lacson as the one who ordered the execution of Dacer and his driver under the Oplan Delta. But Lacson had denied the allegations.
The justice department recommended no bail against Lacson and stressed that the senator cannot invoke parliamentary immunity from arrest and detention as it is only applicable for crimes punishable below three years.
Lacson may be sentenced to a maximum of life imprisonment under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code if found guilty.
Aside from Lacson, some 21 former policemen and civilian agents of PAOCTF have been charged before the Manila RTC in connection with the Dacer-Corbito case.
Jeamma Sabate, Manila Bulletin