MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) is taking a wait-and-see approach in connection with the reported plan of former Police Superintendent Cesar Mancao to surrender.
Mancao faced the media in an undisclosed location on Saturday morning to announce that he is mulling his surrender after almost two years in hiding.
Speaking to ANC's "Dateline Philippines," Justice Secretary Leila de Lima stressed that Mancao remains an accused in the Dacer-Corbito murder case and a fugitive from justice.
"We have to wait and see if he's gonna go for that. If he does in fact want to resurface, he has to come clean. He has to tell us the plain and naked truth," de Lima said.
She lamented that Mancao has been flip-flopping on his testimonies since the beginning.
She said Mancao has to prove his claims in court, and it is up to the court to determine the credibility of his statements.
"He has to tell this time kung ano talaga ang nalalaman niya at kung sinu-sino ang totoong mga may pakana o totoong behind the Dacer-Corbito murder case. Because the problem with Cesar Mancao is that his credibility is none at all at this point because of his flip-flopping and contradictory statements," she said.
"One time he would say Sen. Ping Lacson is not involved, and then another time he would say he is involved. So this time he is issuing this apology and saying that Sen. Ping Lacson has nothing to do with that. So what is really the truth? What does he know?" she added.
In separate interviews on dzMM and ANC this morning, Mancao apologized to Lacson, former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as former President Joseph Estrada for linking them in the murders of publicist Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2000.
He admitted that he had no personal knowledge on the supposed involvement of the two, saying he was only forced by the past administration to implicate their names.
According to de Lima, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been on Mancao's tracks since he escaped from custody in May 2013.
The former intelligence officer escaped by changing the padlock of his detention cell following an order for him to be transferred to the Manila City Jail. He said he is likely to get killed if he is transferred there.
"In fact, the latest update to me from the NBI was that it's really just a matter of time before they're able to re-arrest Mancao... The directive for the NBI to continue tracking him down and re-arrest him remains," the justice secretary said.
She said if Mancao pushes through with his plan to surrender, the NBI is ready to receive him.
De Lima assured Mancao, who appealed for fairness from government forces who are after him, that he will be "treated fairly and humanely."