Ex-Lacson aide wants to rejoin PNPBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Michael Ray Aquino, a former aide and coaccused of Sen. Panfilo Lacson in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case, has applied for reinstatement in the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Inquirer learned on Tuesday.
Inquirer sources in Camp Crame said Aquino submitted his application for reinstatement to the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management (DPRM) last week.
A senior police official, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak with the media, said Aquino had wanted to “clear his name and redeem his honor.”
“Ninoy (Aquino’s nickname) has been accused of so many things since he left the PNP after he was implicated in the Dacer-Corbito case,” the source said.
“He apparently intends to clear his name and redeem his honor. He wants to prove that he can still serve his country despite what he had been through,” the official added.
Another source, a classmate of Aquino in the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1988, said the former police official wanted to rejoin the PNP to get the benefits due him as a former government employee.
“He has every reason to ask for the release of the financial benefits he should receive as a former police official,” the second source said.
Reached on his mobile phone, Aquino did not categorically deny that he had asked the PNP to take him back.
Asked if he had indeed submitted his application for reinstatement, he said in Filipino: “Who told you that? I don’t know about it.”
“I cannot answer your question because (the documents) are with my lawyer. But it’s my right (to apply for reinstatement) for purposes of claims of benefits,” he said.
Pressed to elaborate, Aquino said: “The documents are with my lawyer, but I don’t know what they contained.”
Director Catalino Cuy, DPRM chief, said he was not aware if his office had received Aquino’s application for reinstatement.
“I don’t think he can still apply because it’s been a while since he was discharged (from the PNP),” Cuy told the Inquirer.
Aquino, a former police senior superintendent, flew to the US in 2001 shortly after he, Lacson and several other police officials were tagged in the abduction and killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.
Later, he was accused of illegally accepting classified US secret documents supposedly as part of a plot to overthrow then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was subsequently arrested in the US in 2005 for an espionage case.
The former intelligence police officer pleaded guilty in 2006 for possession of secret documents and was sentenced to a 76-month prison term.
He was extradited to the country in June last year in connection with the Dacer-Corbito twin slays, but was ordered released by a Manila regional trial court six months later for lack of evidence.