MANILA – The deputy director for Intelligence Services of the National Bureau Investigation (NBI), Atty. Reynaldo Esmeralda, admitted on Friday that authorities are finding it difficult to locate former Sr. Superintendent Cezar Mancao, who escaped NBI custody on Thursday.
Mancao, a co-accused in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case, has been granting phone-in TV interviews since he went missing, but Esmeralda said they have yet to determine his exact location because he is always moving.
“Every time nagpapa-interview si Col. Mancao ay mobile po siya. At the end of the interview lilipat na naman siya, very mobile ‘yung movement niya. Hindi siya nagkakaroon ng stationary place na nandodoon lang siya at hindi siya umaalis,” Esmeralda told dzMM.
The NBI deputy director also said that because of Mancao’s experience as a police officer, he is able to counter their moves.
“Alam niya ‘yung ginagawa namin the moment na nagpapa-interview siya,” said Esmeralda.
“Hopefully in the end madali din natin siya at the right time and the right place,” he added.
Mancao was placed under the witness protection program after he filed a motion to turn state witness and testify against other suspects in the case, including Senator Panfilo Lacson, who was later cleared by the court.
He escaped at 1:14 a.m. Thursday morning, while two security guards were on duty, by going out of his room and getting inside a vehicle waiting outside NBI gates.
Esmeralda urged Mancao to voluntarily surrender, saying he is safer in NBI custody.
Esmeralda said Mancao contacted him around Thursday noon and apologized for his actions.
Mancao has also apologized to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, saying he has no choice but to escape because he fears for his safety.
Mancao said he's willing to surrender but only if his safety is guaranteed.
He was set to be transferred to the Manila City Jail Thursday morning after a petition from several of his co-accused was approved by the court.
Mancao also complained about his condition while in NBI custody as he felt he was not being treated like a witness.
Esmeralda said authorities will investigate Mancao’s claims.
“Kahapon ko lang nalaman at nakausap ko siya tungkol sa mga hinaing niya. Nakita ko na mahirap ang sitwasyon niya sa kwarto niya. Napag-utusan na natin ang internal affairs para imbestigahan ang mga naisiwalat ni Col. Mancao tungkol sa ating detention facility,” said Esmeralda.