(Editor?s note: This is the latest sworn statement executed by former Senior Supt. Cezar Mancao II in connection with the Dacer-Corbito twin slayings. The Inquirer obtained a copy from a government official who asked not to be identified because he said he was not authorized to release the document.)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA )
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA )
I, CEZAR OCHOCO MANCAO II, of legal age, married, Filipino and presently under the custody of US Federal Marshals at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America, after being duly sworn to in accordance with the law, hereby depose and state, to wit:
1. I am the same CEZAR OCHOCO MANCAO II who is one of the several accused in Criminal Case No. 01-191969 pending before Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines, entitled ?PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES versus MICHAEL RAY AQUINO, et al.?, or more popularly known as the DACER-CORBITO DOUBLE MURDER CASE.
2. I am executing this Affidavit to narrate, out of my own personal knowledge, among others, the relevant incidents that transpired in connection with the abduction and death of SALVADOR ?BUBBY? DACER and his driver EMMANUEL CORBITO on November 24, 2000, and name the persons responsible therefor,
3. I hereby attest at the outset that I am executing this statement freely, voluntarily and intelligently, without any force, intimidation, threats, or any form of duress being exerted on myself or on any of my family members by the government of the Republic of the Philippines or any of its officials or employees. The execution of this statement is the result of my own initiative to offer the Government of the Republic of the Philippines cooperation in terms of disclosure of relevant information concerning the DACER-CORBITO double murder case. I likewise attest that I was assisted and given sufficient legal counsel by my lawyer, BERNARDO LOPEZ, Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender?s Office, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. U.S.A. all throughout the preparation of this affidavit.
4. I start with the fact that in July 1998, the President Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) was formed during the administration of PRESIDENT JOSEPH ESTRADA (ERAP). This was headed by CHIEF SUPT. PANFILO LACSON (LACSON). I was initially designated as deputy chief of task group Luzon but a few months thereafter. I was promoted as chief, Task Group Luzon. The following were some of its ranking officials together with myself, namely:
a) CHIEF SUPT. FRANCISCO ZUBIA- Deputy for Administration;
b) SUPT. MAGTANGOL GATDULA - Deputy for Operations;
c) SUPT. MICHAEL RAY AQUINO (AQUINO) - Head, Operations Division;
d) JOHN LOPEZ - Head, Finance and Logistics Division;
e) SUPT. TEOFILO VINA (VINA) - Head, Task Group Visayas
5. As Chief of Task Group Luzon, I was assisted by P/SUPT. GLENN G. DUMLAO (DUMLAO) as my deputy for operations and SUPT. GACUTAN as my deputy for administration. Aside from being the deputy for operations, DUMLAO is also one of my team leaders, together with CHIEF INSP. VICENTE ARNADO (ARNADO).
6. However, notwithstanding the formal organizational structure of PAOCTF, and as the reality in specialized and compartmentalized law enforcement units like the PAOCTF, some personnel may be directed to perform special operations by the chief of operations - P/SUPT. MICHAEL RAY AQUINO (AQUINO). For instance, my deputy for operations, DUMLAO in some special cases directly reports to AQUINO without giving me the details of his assignment or progress of his taskings.
7. Sometime in the early part of October 2000, I found out from my operatives? dispatch slips that AQUINO was utilizing some of my personnel at Task Group Luzon in his ?special operations? without my knowledge. Right then and there, I, together with DUMLAO who happened to be in my office at that time, went together to AQUINO?s office and inquired about the matter. AQUINO informed us that these ?special operations? had been previously approved and cleared by LACSON and by MALACAÑANG itself. DUMLAO mentioned to me that the ?special operations? had for its target a certain media man critical of ERAP, whom they referred to as ?DELTA?. Being in the nature of a special operation, I decided not to inquire further. For purposes of clarity, PAOCTF?s ?special operations? then pertained to operations that did not follow the normal channels of command and did not come under the purview of its mandate.
8. While I was opposed to AQUINO?s use of my personnel, there was nothing that I could do then to prevent him because he occupied a position higher than myself in terms of designation at the PAOCTF organizational hierarchy. Additionally, these special operations were under the directions of LACSON as PAOCTF head. However, I still instructed my men at Task Group Luzon to bring to my attention orders regarding special operations not directly coming from me and not to be keen in performing operations outside of the PAOCTF mandate, especially illegal ones.
9. On two (2) separate occasions sometime in October-November 2000, two of my team leaders, ARNADO and REYES, confided to me that AQUINO ordered both of them to conduct operations against REYNALDO BERROYA. I remember two (2) instances when ARNADO and REYES were already in a position to abduct BERROYA but could not get in touch with AQUINO for the final ?go? signal and sought mine, and which I both declined. These incidents ostensibly reached the attention of LACSON and AQUINO because I felt them turn lukewarm and indifferent towards me, to the extent that I was constrained to request for my transfer to a regular PNP unit. LACSON, however, refused to grant my request.
10. Sometime in October 2000, I heard LACSON order AQUINO to liquidate BERROYA, his public-known nemesis, saying: ?Noy, tirahin nyo na si Bero.? LACSON said this while we were on board his car en route to a Japanese restaurant in Greenhills, San Juan, for lunch. I was seated at the front seat of the car then driven by SGT. OXIMOSO (?Oxy? as we usually called him), while AQUINO and LACSON sat at the back. AQUINO responded to LACSON that he intends to neutralize or liquidate DELTA first because ERAP was already peeved at him, saying: ?Tapusin muna namin si Delta, Sir, kasi naiirita na si Bigote sa kaniya.? ?DELTA?, referred to media and PR man SALVADOR ?BUBBY? DACER (DACER), while ?BIGOTE? was the commonly-known pseudonym of ERAP. LACSON however insisted that AQUINO rather operate on both BERROYA and DACER SIMULTANEOUSLY, saying ?Ipagsabay mo na at tingnan natin kung sino na ang mauuna?, which obviously meant that AQUINO operate on DACER and BERROYA at the same time and to just see who between them is killed first.
11. At around 11:00 in the morning of November 24, 2000, while DUMLAO and myself were at my office at task group Luzon, DUMLAO suddenly excused himself because he supposedly received a text message from AQUINO saying that DACER was already in the custody of VINA somewhere in the province of Cavite and thus directing him to proceed to the area to conduct tactical interrogation on DACER. As DUMLAO was leaving my office, I told him to share with me the results of his tactical interrogation.
12. After DUMLAO left, I immediately called VINA and verified about the alleged operation. VINA confirmed to me the operation and told me he will take care of it and that the same was upon the orders of AQUINO.
13. When DUMLAO returned to the office, I inquired what happened to his tactical interrogation of DACER and he told me that he did not obtain any valuable information from the subject. I asked him if VINA was also present in the area and he replied in the negative. And so I called up VINA on his cell phone and asked him why he was not at the area after all. Again he told me not to worry as he will take care of the situation.
14. After learning about DACER?s abduction, I immediately informed LACSON and asked for his guidance on the matter. LACSON instructed me to head the investigation of the incident since doing so will allow PAOCTF to control the situation by covering up the involvement of PAOCTF personnel. Accordingly, I dispatched my men to conduct a regular investigation of the incident; I also required all investigating police stations to forward to us all relevant documents, making us the repository of these documents, and thus enabled us to cover-up for the involved PAOCTF operatives. Due to my successful cover-up of the incident, LACSON and AQUINO became warm and appreciative of me again.
15. Several days thereafter, news broke out about Dacer?s car being found dumped in a ravine in Margondon, Cavite. I chanced upon DUMLAO in our office and asked him why it happened that way when VINA continuously assured me that he will take care of the situation. I remember me saying: ?Akala ko plinantsa niya ng maayos?! Mapapasama tuloy tayong lahat dito!? DUMLAO on the other hand, told me that he had in his possession the documents recovered from Dacer?s vehicle. In reply, I commented that it was very risky for him to be keeping them. I later on learned that DUMLAO disposed of the documents by burning the same.
16. After ERAP was deposed from power in January 2001, I was reassigned to Region VIII.
17. After winning the election as senator of the Republic of the Philippines in the May 2001 elections, LACSON called AQUINO and myself to a meeting in a house somewhere in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. In that meeting, LACSON instructed both of us to leave the country since the new administration would surely go after us and link us in the DACER-CORBITO double murder case, among others, in order to destroy his reputation and presidential ambition. He assured us that he will take care of both of us and will continue to give us our monthly allowance. I can vividly remember LACSON?S words: ?Kailangang umalis na kayo sa bansa dahil si Glenn nagbigay na ng statement, and Kuratong Baleleng case ay binuhay, at posibleng gagawa yan ng iba pang mga kaso. Huwag kayong mag-alala, ako ang bahala sa inyo.? At that time, the burnt remains and belongings of DACER and CORBITO had been recovered from a creek somewhere in Indang, Cavite; some of the perpetrators had even confessed to the killing; and the case was already being investigated by the Department of Justice.
18. In reaction to LACSON?s instructions, I told him that for his sake, I will obey even if that would entail for me to be away from my family. Incidentally, I remember that on that same occasion, JANE GOMEZ, a vital witness in the Kuratong Baleleng incident was also in the house where our meeting with LACSON was held.
19. On July 1, 2001, I followed LACSON?s instructions for me to leave the country for the United States. I rendezvous with AQUINO in Hong Kong and from there we proceeded to the United States via San Francisco. LACSON made arrangements for our stay at Harrold Hicks? friend?s house in Daly City; Hicks is a former enlisted man who worked under LACSON. However, before I left the country, I was made to sign a Counter-Affidavit in the then pending preliminary investigation concerning the abduction and death of DACER and CORBITO before the Department of Justice. The Counter-Affidavit contained for the most part, strong denials of my supposed knowledge or participation in the DACER-CORBITO operations as narrated by DUMLAO in a handwritten affidavit. I was constrained to sign the same despite knowing that some of the allegations were actually true, in order to save my neck and in the hope that I will be exonerated therefrom.
20. On or about August 3, 2001, while AQUINO and myself were inside our room at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas where we were staying upon invitation and sponsorship of BUTCH TENORIO (TENORIO), the former head of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) during the term of ERAP I heard TENORIO telling AQUINO that when he received information from the latter that DACER has been neutralized, he immediately relayed the information to ERAP thinking that the information will please him. However, ERAP supposedly turned indifferent, which reaction surprised TENORIO. Incidentally, TENORIO, ESTRADA and LACSON all stood as principal sponsors in AQUINO?s wedding.
21. In September 2001, I decided to settle in the state of Florida, while AQUINO settled in the state of New Jersey. I have lived in Florida since then and never went back to the Philippines. In the meanwhile, LACSON repeatedly traveled to the U.S. from October 2001 up to September 2003 and met with us in all of these occasions; he also did not fail to reimburse our plane fares and other expenses.
22. I am executing this Affidavit to attest to the truth of the foregoing allegations and for other legal purposes this may serve. I reserve the right to provide more details about this incident as need be during court trial.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I gave hereunto signed this 13th day of February 2009, at FORT LAUDERDALE, STATE OF FLORIDA, U.S.A.
CEZAR OCHOCO MANCAO II
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 13th day of February 2009, at FORT LAUDERDALE, STATE OF FLORIDA, U.S.A.
Philippine Honorary Consulate)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA ) S.S:
BEFORE ME, Angelo S. Macatangay, M.D., Consul General A.H. duly commissioned and qualified at Fort Lauderdale, Florida on this 14th day of February 2009, personally appeared, Cezar Ochoco Mancao II, known to be the same person who executed the annexed instrument (Affidavit) and, being informed by me of the contents of the said instrument. Acknowledged before me that he executed the same of his own free will and deed.
The party, signed at the foot of the instrument. For the contents of the annexed documents, the Honorary, Consul General assumes no responsibility xxx instrument together with this acknowledgement being composed of xxx pages.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand on these presents and affixed hereon the seal of the Honorary Philippine Consulate, Fort Lauderdale, xxxxx this 14th day of February 2009
Angelo S. Macatangay, M.D.
Honorary Consul General
Doc. No. : 247xxx
Series Of : 2009
O.R. No. : Gratis