MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) will review the decision of a United States court granting the damage suit filed by daughters of slain publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer against former senior superintendent Michael Ray Aquino for the killing of their father in November 2000.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she would study the recent decision of US District Court of Northern California in San Francisco granting $4 million in civil damages to four daughters of Dacer in connection with the pending murder case in the Manila regional trial court.
“Although it’s a civil case, we will check if it will have any effect on the criminal case because, as you all know, even if we already got Michael Ray the Manila RTC has cleared him, that’s why he is no longer in the custody of the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation),” she told reporters.
A Manila RTC ordered his release in 2012 after dismissing the bid of another accused, former senior superintendent Cezar Mancao II, to become state witness.
“I want to see the very basis of that ruling: what evidence were used and presented to the court that became the basis of that decision,” she stressed.
De Lima, however, admitted that the requirements for criminal and civil cases are different.
“We should also look at the jurisdiction of the insurer so we will try to evaluate the decision once we get a copy,” she added.
The US court ordered Aquino to pay more than $4 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the four daughters of Dacer after finding him responsible for “coordinating” the kidnapping, torture and murder of the publicist and his driver 13 years ago.