DOJ wraps up probe on Lacson's role in Dacer case

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2009 08:04 PM | Updated as of Oct 09 2009 04:04 AM

After Lacson snubs preliminary investigation hearing

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) panel on Thursday submitted for resolution the preliminary investigation on the alleged involvement of Sen. Panfilo Lacson in the abduction and murders of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.

Senior State Prosecutor Peter Ong submitted the case for resolution after Lacson failed to submit his counter-affidavit and appear at a hearing on the prelimary investigation.

The DOJ panel, on Sept. 28, ordered Lacson to submit his counter-affidavit to the complaint filed by the children of the slain publicist. Lacson, however, failed to heed the panel’s 10-day deadline.

Lacson’s lawyers were reportedly provided the papers attached to the complaint last Sept. 23. In the Sept. 28 panel hearing, Ong had already warned that they would submit for resolution the preliminary investigation even if Lacson fails to submit his counter-affidavit.

“We never denied both parties due process. They were given ample time to submit all necessary documents, including the respondent’s counter-affidavit. We have issued a warning last time for the respondent to filed his counter-affidavit,” Ong pointed out.

Ong, on Thursday, denied the motion of Lacson’s legal counsels, led by Gregorio Fernandez, for another 10-day extension to submit Lacson's answer to the double-murder complaint.

“This case is now submitted for resolution,” Ong said.

He added that Lacson's lawyers already received the necessary documents and other additional forensic evidence that they requested from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Fernandez, Lacson’s lawyer, protested Ong’s decision to conclude its investigation without Lacson’s counter-affidavit.

Fernandez said his request for an extension was because he failed to communicate with Lacson for at least a week since he was among those affected by tropical storm “Ondoy.”

“We have a valid reason in seeking an extension. My house was flooded and I had no communication with my office and client for one week…Definitely, my client was denied due process,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez also said that Lacson has a pending petition with the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the DOJ from its reinvestigation into the double-murder case. The probe was relaunched after the Dacer siblings filed the complaint against Lacson.

Lacson asked the SC last week to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals denying his petition to stop the DOJ from reinvestigating the twin killings, citing “political persecution.”

Fernandez said that they would ask the SC for the immediate resolution of their petition and avail of other legal remedies to stop DOJ from prosecuting Lacson.

Lacson was implicated by former police Senior Superintendent Cezar Mancao II in the double murder case.

Lacson was the chief of the Philippine National Police and head of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) when Dacer was abducted.

The senator has denied involvement in the double murder.

Draft complaint vs Estrada ready

Meanwhile, a new petition for a preliminary investigation involving former President Joseph Estrada is under way.

The Dacer sibling’s lawyer Demetrio Custodio said on Thursday that he has finished preparing the complaint against the former president and has sent it to Carina Dacer in New York who will swear to it before the Philippine consul-general.

After Carina, Custodio said, it will be sent to other family members in California. He said they hope to file it in the DOJ next week.

The Dacer siblings earlier filed with the DOJ a motion for time to file an amended complaint that would include Estrada as a respondent in the complaint following the oral testimony of Mancao before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila City last September 3.

The former police official linked the former president to the double-murder case. With a report from Timi Nubla, ABS-CBN News