MANILA, Philippines - A recent decision by a lower court did not acquit former Senior Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino from the murders of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and driver Emmanuel Corbito, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.
“The decision of the Manila RTC (regional trial court) was not an acquittal. It was not an assessment of evidence based on the standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt,'" she said.
An appeal of the lower court’s ruling will be filed as was recommended by a panel of prosecutors, she said.
De Lima noted Branch 18 Judge Carolina Icasiano-Sison failed to consider the testimony of former Supt. Glenn Dumlao, another accused. “We have read the ruling and it appeared that the court did not consider the testimony of Dumlao who tagged Aquino to the crime,” De Lima said.
According to De Lima, Aquino’s case is similar to that of his former boss, now Senator Panfilo Lacson. The appellate court earlier cleared Lacson from the murders, saying the testimony of state witness, former Superintendent Cezar Mancao II, was not credible.
Aquino, former head of operations of the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, was detained at the NBI headquarters following his extradition from the US in June 2011. He was released last week.