SAN PEDRO, Laguna—Remember police Supt. Glenn Dumlao? He is the police regional official who authorized “Coplan Armado,” the operation that left 13 people dead in Atimonan town, Quezon province, in January. He is still in the service and he thinks fugitive former police Senior Supt. Cezar Mancao II has nothing to fear from Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
Mancao, a suspect in the 2000 murders of public relations agent Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito, escaped from his cell at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila early Thursday to avoid being killed after his court-ordered transfer to the Manila City Jail, in a plan that he said was brainstormed by Lacson.
Both Dumlao and Mancao served in the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) that Lacson headed as chief of the Philippine National Police in the administration of former President Joseph Estrada.
Mancao claimed Lacson ordered Dacer bumped off because the PR agent was a fierce critic of Estrada, a charge that sent Lacson running to unknown parts in 2010, returning a year later after the Court of Appeals had cleared him.
Out of character
Lacson has reason to be angry with Mancao, but Dumlao, who was arrested in 2001 in connection with the Dacer-Corbito murders but later cleared, said ordering Mancao butchered in jail was out of Lacson’s character.
“There’s no such plan,” Dumlao said in a phone interview with the Inquirer on Saturday night.
Mancao, he said, is “just hallucinating.”
Dumlao stood by Lacson in the Dacer-Corbito case, clearing his former boss at the PAOCTF and implicating instead Mancao and another police officer, Michael Ray Aquino.
Dumlao was formerly Aquino’s deputy in the PAOCTF.
No evidence was found against Aquino, and he was discharged from the case in December last year, leaving Mancao, who had offered to serve as state witness, to join in the city jail 21 other former PAOCTF officers, four of whom had sought his transfer there. They are mad at him for ratting on the boss.
Dumlao remembered that he went through “legal hassles” for linking Mancao and Aquino to the Dacer-Corbito murders.
“But that’s all there is to it,” Dumlao said, indicating that he has forgiven and forgotten and moved on.
But Mancao should not have said that nasty thing about Lacson plotting to silence him in jail, Dumlao said.
“I wonder how he could sleep at night with all the things he said (against Lacson),” he said.
But despite Mancao’s turning against Lacson, Dumlao said that he “feels” for his former colleague, who told journalists that he would not surrender unless the court corrects the “injustice” done to him.
The Manila court hearing the Dacer-Corbito case had rejected Mancao’s offer to serve as state witness and, granting a petition by four suspects, all former PAOCTF agents, ordered his transfer to the Manila City Jail.
Dumlao said escaping was a “normal course of action” for Mancao, whom he described as a “well-trained” police officer. He said he believed Mancao’s escape was a well-calculated move.
Cut the hypocrisy
According to Dumlao, Mancao was well-liked in the police service and his former colleagues had two options if they encountered him today.
“You either arrest him or keep [hide] him,” Dumlao said. “Let’s cut the hypocrisy. The saying, ‘I’m my brother’s keeper’ still holds true.”
Asked if he would arrest Mancao if he met him, Dumlao said, “Yes, because he is a fugitive.”
Dumlao was sacked as commander of the Regional Public Safety Battalion of the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) police after the Atimonan killings. But unlike the regional police chief and several policemen and soldiers, he wasn’t charged. Two weeks ago, he was moved to the regional police holding and administrative unit in Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba City, Laguna.
Mancao is running for his life, and his wife, Maricar, who lives in the United States, has asked the Aquino administration to protect him from Lacson.
But deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Sunday that the government could not protect Mancao on the lam.
If he wants protection, he should turn himself in, Valte said.
“How can we protect him if he’s on the run?” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima asked, reacting on Sunday to Maricar Mancao’s plea for help for her husband.
De Lima said she would terminate the Witness Protection Program coverage of Mancao on Monday, but promised to ask the court not to transfer him to the city jail if he surrendered.
She said she needed to terminate Mancao’s government protection to preserve the integrity of the program.
Reelectionist Sen. Gregorio Honasan, who ran from the law after leading coup attempts against President Corazon Aquino in the mid-1980s, on Sunday advised Mancao to surrender so that the wheels of justice could begin turning.
“For the process to begin, he has to be physically present. He has to submit himself to the legal process,” Honasan said.—With reports from TJ Burgonio and Leila B. Salaverria in Manila