De Lima tells fugitive Mancao: Come clean, don’t waste our time
MANILA, Philippines—Come clean, surrender “on my terms” and don’t waste our time.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had this message to “flip-flopping” fugitive former police Senior Supt. Cezar Mancao II, who on Saturday came out in media to again say he was planning to surrender and finally tell the truth.
Mancao, among the accused in the 2001 murder of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito, has been the subject of a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) manhunt since he escaped its custody in 2013.
Once considered a government witness, Mancao, a former police intelligence officer, apologized in his latest media outing to former Sen. Panfilo Lacson and deposed President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada for implicating them in the case.
“I hope that if Mancao does in fact resurface, he comes clean this time. He must tell us the plain and naked truth about that still unresolved mystery which is the Dacer-Corbito murder case,” De Lima said in a text message to reporters yesterday.
“That’s the only way for Mancao to redeem himself, given his lost credibility borne by his flip-flopping and contradictory statements and testimonies,” she said.
De Lima said Mancao must face his long-delayed trial once he resurfaces, and tell the court who should pay for the double murder.
“…[H]e has to contend with the criminal case wherein he remains to be an accused. He must face the trial squarely and prove the innocence of those truly innocent and the guilt of those truly guilty,” De Lima said.
She said Mancao’s side had already made contact with her, and that she sent word to the fugitive that he may not set the terms of his surrender.
“Someone already called me. I relayed the message that if he really wants to surrender to me, my condition is for him to come clean this time and not waste our time,” De Lima said.
“And his surrender must be on my own terms, and not his. As a fugitive, he cannot be dictating the terms,” she added.
De Lima said the NBI continues its manhunt: “Whether or not such surrender materializes, the NBI shall continue to hunt him down since he’s a fugitive from justice.”
Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who was earlier cleared in the double-murder by both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, said he has already forgiven Mancao and others who tagged him in the slays.
He described Mancao as one who is of “weak character” and who has credibility issues.
“More than the persecution of innocent people, what Mancao did four years ago spoke of his weak character,” said Lacson of the time the fugitive tagged him the murders.
“Surely, I know all those who committed incriminatory machination, even subornation of perjury by the assigned prosecutor herself and I will never forget their names. Regardless, I have already forgiven all of them. In a way, I thank them for letting me know who my true friends are,” he said.
Lacson, who himself went into hiding after he was dragged into the murder case, said Mancao’s latest statements made clear that there was “cavalry” out to get him during the previous administration.
The former senator was known for his exposés at the Senate floor during the Arroyo administration, including accusations of money laundering against former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.
“At least he makes clear what I’ve already known since the start of my “calvary”—that the minions of the former President (Gloria Arroyo) ganged up on him to do me in. Why? I can only presume that my incessant exposés against the previous administration’s abuses against the Filipino people had everything to do with it,” said Lacson.
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