(Update) Former PNP exec Aquino wins appeal in US court


Posted at Feb 07 2009 03:35 AM | Updated as of Feb 08 2009 12:27 AM

Former Philippine National Police officer Michael Ray Aquino may get out of prison soon after a US Federal Appeals Court panel ordered a judge in Newark, New Jersey to resentence him under more lenient guidelines.

Aquino, 42, is currently serving a six-year prison term in McRae, Georgia for pleading guilty in 2006 to possessing classified US documents he received from former US Marine Leandro Aragoncillo. Aragoncillo, who pled guilty to espionage, is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Texas.

Aquino appealed his sentence, which was upheld by a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

When re-sentenced, Aquino faces 37 to 46 months. He has already served 40 months including the time he was arrested in 2005 for overstaying his tourist visa.

Mark Berman, Aquino's lawyer said the former Philippine police officer could be freed if sentenced to time served.

The former police officer, however, faces deportation when he is released from prison.

Aquino left the country when President Joseph Estrada was ousted in January 2001.

The former police intelligence officer, who worked with then police chief Sen. Panfilo Lacson in an anti-kidnapping unit, has been linked to the killing of PR specialist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver. -- Lenn Almaden-Thornhill, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau