Wednesday, 31 January 2001
Sabina Dacer joined the crowd at EDSA last Jan. 19, the day the Estrada government collapsed. But there was no trace of celebration in her smile. Her presence that day reminded everyone who knew her of a question that still needed to be asked: Is her father, Salvador “Bubby” P. Dacer, still alive? Who abducted him two months ago? Why?
Since Dacer and his driver disappeared last Nov. 24, police authorities have yet to uncover leads that could help them identify their kidnappers or even determine if the two are still alive. Dacer’s Toyota Revo was found on a hill in Maragondon, Cavite, about a week after his abduction. There were no traces of Dacer’s personal belongings in the abandoned car, including his cell phone and two leather attaché cases where he kept confidential files.
The Dacer family is still clueless about who was behind his disappearance and what motivated it. Why would anyone think of doing harm to him? No stranger to controversy, the 63-year-old Dacer had a mix bag of clients: politicians, cops and soldiers, businessmen, bureaucrats, and many others. He did PR jobs for the guilty as well as for the innocent. He gave advice to two ex-presidents: Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada and their political parties. Sabina recalls that her father’s office papers filled up four vans when these were transferred to the Dacer residence after his disappearance.
|These letters, which were originally printed on Bubby Dacer's letterhead, were first published in Newsbreak, January 31 - February 6, 2001 issue (pages 24-27). Download the scanned copy of the Newsbreak pages where the letters first appeared here.
Dacer’s PR career reached its peak under the Ramos government. He got connected to Ramos through his (Dacer’s) friend and fellow Bicolano, retired Gen. Jose Almonte, a key adviser to the ex-president. When Joseph Estrada became president in 1998, many doubted if Dacer could establish links with the new president, given the PR executive’s close association with Ramos. But he did. Sabina explains that Estrada and Dacer have known each other since their younger years, even before Estrada became mayor of San Juan.
In fact, days before Dacer disappeared, he went to Malacañang upon the invitation of then President Estrada. The meeting was brokered by Rep. Luis Asistio, whose nephew is married to Dacer’s youngest daughter, Ampy. The Dacer daughters claim that their father was reluctant to meet with Estrada but that Asistio insisted. The meeting was meant to patch things up between Estrada and Dacer. Speculations were rife at that time that the Estrada camp felt betrayed by Dacer, who once worked with them in the first year of the Estrada presidency. What fueled speculations was that Dacer was on his way to a meeting with Estrada’s nemesis, former President Ramos, when he was abducted by unidentified men in Manila.
What exactly was the relationship of Dacer with Estrada and Ramos? What issues did the PR executive handle in the 24 months before he disappeared? Newsbreak was able to obtain some of Dacer’s letters that give an indication of what he had been through. Newsbreak obtained these from Almonte, who is a very close friend of Dacer. The PR executive always furnished Almonte copies of his important letters. We’re publishing these to remember an unsolved crime. The Dacer’s search for justice continues, even under this new celebratory period referred to as the “Gloria Euphoria.”
June 9, 1999
PRESIDENT JOSEPH E. ESTRADA
Subject: BLACK PROPAGANDA AIMED AT DRIVING WEDGE BETWEEN US
Dear Mr. President,
Emil Jurado and other people have quoted Your Excellency expressing "disappointment" in me for my alleged involvement with a "demolition team" from the former ruling party. In fact, Emil has written twice of these accusations in his Manila Standard column. These are very serious charges and I could not let them go unanswered ....
Attempts to drive a wedge between us, Mr. President, are nothing new. Last April, I also wrote to counter lies regarding my alleged involvement in a "demolition job" -then concerning DECS textbook case. Indeed, these lies-which I believed were caused by envy-prodded me to seek permission to stay away during your local and foreign trips, official functions ...
Some of the "current" attacks are continuing phases of old black propaganda. To enumerate:
1. USEC JOSEFINA LICHAUCO
Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Josefina Lichauco has written mediamen and given interviews accusing me of being behind the press release linking Presidential brother, Atty. Paul Ejercito, to the Itochu-Thomson bidding controversy. She also claimed Itochu paid me a big sum to handle its PR offensive ....While I am sure she had no intention of raising conspiracy issues, her tirade was exploited by others determined to destroy my humble friendship with Your Excellency. Rumors again started flying about my numerous "sins" against the President, all charges aimed at highlighting my supposed "betrayal" of Your Excellency.
2. ASST. SEC. BOYING REMULLA
Assistant Secretary Jesus (Boying) Remulla has been among my more aggressive attackers. He has always resented my professional relationship with Cavite Gov. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., although I have always told Bong to remain POSITIVE. In a personal confrontation with Gov. Revilla, Boying threatened to "take away" my clients and he is making good that threat. Your Excellency, despite the young man's disrespect, I kept my peace because of my old friendship and admiration for former Gov. Gov. Juanito Remulla. In fact, I even dropped Bong Revilla as a client to avert further conflict in Cavite that could harm the Presidency.
Lately, however, Boying has raised a preposterous charge-calling me the PR man of Caloocan Mayor Rey Malonzo. How can this be true? My son-in-law Macario "Sobby" Henson, husband of your hijada, Ampy is an Asistio, son of Nene, who is Baby's sister. Editors, and the Asistios themselves, will vouch that I have been helping Your Administration in the Caloocan controversy.
3. GEN. PING LACSON'S GROUP
The campaign against me has become so heated that some of the charges now contradict each other. For example, some people swear that I continue to handle the PR of PNP Director General (on leave) Bobby Lastimoso, while others claim I have been "bought back" by Gen. Ping Lacson,
The truth is I have stayed away from that war, knowing that aid to either man would only hurt Your Excellency. In fact, Mr. President, I stayed neutral during the first three days; I only sought Your Excellency’s permission to help the Chief PNP after General Lacson attempt to publicly embarrass the Presidency by threatening to resign unless his demands were met. I felt-and still feel-that no friend can allow his personal interests to transcend that of the Presidency.
Your Excellency, (the) Journal publisher. ...has been helping both Boying Remulla and Ping Lacson in spreading lies against me. I had always tried to nurture and protect (publisher) in the past, but felt that his handling of the Lacson-Lastimoso controversy was doing more harm to the Presidency.
4. LAMMP/MALACANANG FACTIONS
Some prominent figures in LAMMP and the Malacañang Press Office Group also want to bring me down. While I have always tried to keep out of official Malacañang business, my humble suggestions to improve news management of Your Excellency's activities were resented by some key administration officers. This hostility became more pronounced after Your Excellency took up my proposal to a) create a special media team answerable only to your office; and b) when you staged a surprise inspection of the Malacañang Press Office.
I suspect that the "demolition job” charge may be coming from this group. Emil's group claims this demolition team is working with a newspaper with "tabloidish tendencies,"—clearly the Inquirer, the same paper that first played up the DECS textbook controversy. They are probably not aware that I regularly report to your Excellency about my past and continuing efforts to minimize that daily’s negative coverage.
5. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER
It is precisely my crusade against the Inquirer malicious anti-Estrada Administration thrust that opens the possibility of some editors of said paper deliberately pointing to me as the source of any Inquirer article critical of the government…
6. LAKAS LEADERS
While others accuse me of being part of a LAKAS demolition team, led by former National Security Adviser JOSE T. ALMONTE, some LAKAS stalwart themselves are engaged in spreading misinformation against me.
I pledge now, Your Excellency. My old friendship with former National Security Adviser Jose T. Almonte will never be an excuse against you. It is that same friendship that JoAl respects, thus his efforts to dissuade Lakas leaders from hiring me for any anti-discrimination campaign. I must say, too, that I will never initiate losing JoAl’s friendship. We have not met since the election campaign but he sent my family flowers on Old Saint’s Day. He also called me at the height of the Lacson-Lastimoso feud to ask whether I had really taken sides—and Ping Lacson learned of this BECAUSE I TOLD HIM WHEN HE CALLED MY OFFICE.
After learning, however, of the alleged demolition job, I called him to seek an appointment, which he set for dinner at his office on Monday (June 14).
As a student of politics, I realize the demolition job may, indeed, be real and Lakas psy-war experts may have deliberately dragged my name into their plot - because they hope that, once dislocated, I may go back to them. If, during or after my meeting with JoAl, I find out this is so, I will openly denounce them.
Mr. President, I am afraid my detractors will not stop until they destroy my good relations with you. I know that even now, they will be trying to spread additional intrigues, hoping to arouse Your Excellency’s anger against me.
I would not be disturbed if the attacks were targeted solely on me. It is when these attacks harm and hurt Your Excellency that I feel great sorrow-not wanting to be, even indirectly, a burden to a very cherished friend.
I am willing to face anybody, anytime with the truth. Your Excellency, with all the power, resources and logistics of the bureaucracy, please exert your full authority to uncover any wrongdoing I have done against the Presidency and this government. Also, please, allow me to confront my detractors-in your presence, if possible—that I may decisively unmask their lies.
Tao lamang po ako at nasasaktan rin. Handa po akong lumisan maawat lamang ang intrigang pinapakawalan laban sa ating pagkakaibigan. Tulad noong panahong ikakasal sina Ampy at Bobby; kung naalala nyo po, mahal na Pangulo, handa po ako noong umalis para lamang makapiling kayo ng inyong hijada at hijado.
Ngayon din po, handa uli akong lumayo para lamang mabawasan ang mga problema ng mahal kong Pangulo. Nasabi ko na ito sa mga anak ko. Nauunawaan naman nila ang kalagayan, bagamat naiiyak sa lungkot at ngayon pa lang ay nangungulila na ang bunso kong si Ampy (sa iyong inaanak).
Nothing more can I offer to prove my sincerity but the sacrifice of my career, my business, my family for the sake of my President and my country.
With my abiding loyalty.
BUBBY P. DACER
Oct. 8, 1999
President Joseph E. Estrada
Subject: PING LACSON’S MANEUVERS FOR PNP DIRECTOR-GENERAL POST
Dear Mr President:
Now that the members of the House of Representatives and staunch allies have successfully negotiated the confirmation of Interior and Local Governments Secretary Ronaldo Puno, may I reveal the hidden hand behind the heavy media assault against Your Excellency's chosen man. Sen. Miriam Santiago served as a front man against Secretary Puno, but editors and columnists swear she was only a tool of Gen. PANFILO LACSON, who did not spare money in ensuring damage to the DILG Secretary, ....
The campaign against Secretary Puno was part of Gen. Lacson's grand plan to wrest total control of both the DILG and the Philippine National Police, Doing so would make him one of the most powerful men in the nation.
....Much of the fear stems from a genuine concern for Your Excellency and the state of the nation. Other observers note Gen, Lacson's insubordinate attitude towards the Chief Executive and his (failed) attempts to manipulate and embarrass the President during his feud with former PNP Director-General ROBERTO LASTIMOSO. People remember how he arrogantly challenged the Presidency, putting your Excellency on the spot by demanding improper concessions.
I, too, have direct experience with Gen, Lacson's willingness to use any means, including foul, to advance his interests, I set great faith in Your Excellency's wisdom and ability to defeat threats against our civil society, But I; too, realize that having to control the potential damage Gen, LACSON is capable of sowing could divert much-needed attention from other pressing matters of state. Alang-alang po sa inyong kabutihan, Mr. President, at sa kabutihan ng buong sambayanan, I vehemently oppose Gen, LACSON for the chief PNP post.
The new PNP chief should be a real gentleman with the humility and strength to unify, not only our police force, but also all good citizens concerned with the government's fight against crime. I have no friendship with the other aspirants, although the consensus, kahit saan, is for Gen. REYNALDO WYCOCO, who is admired for his ability to transform commands into models of discipline and probity. Gen. Wycoco does not even know me personally but I believe the PNP should have a leader na malinis, magaan at respectable ang dating sa tao.
The PNP, of course, has other top-caliber officers who can do as well as Gen. Wycoco. Huwag lang po sana si PING LACSON, especially now na nandiyan na si Secretary Puno, because it could lead to a power struggle-at your own expense, Mr. President. Alam mo naman po that I have always been a believer in Gen. Lacson, until recently, nang magkaroon ako ng phobia dahil sa public behavior niya. Perhaps, he can be given a higher position. Huwag lang po sa PNP because many foresee a POLICE STATE, and this will be very bad for the domestic economy and set back Your Excellency's campaign to attract foreign investors.
Knowing Your Excellency's deep desire to instill a regime of good government and responsive, responsible public service, I rest confident in. your forthcoming decision.
With my abiding loyalty.
Bubby P. Dacer
March 15, 2000
Mr. Dante Tan
Best World Resources Corporation
26/F Catham House 116 Valeroso corner Herrera Sts.
Salcedo Village, Makati City
Dear Mr. Tan,
A review of our partnership in the handling of BW's crisis raises some sadness and disappointment, mainly because I feel the expertise and goodwill shared by my company has been squandered because of a client's refusal to heed advice.
If you will recall, I turned down the initial solicitation for a PR crisis job, as offered by your business associate, MANNY BATAR, as per attached letter. This because I had doubts about the whole stock scandal and in no position to determine the innocent or guilty parties.
I have always seen PR more as a vocation than just a career and have never hesitated to walk away from some prospective accounts. In the same vein, this trait ensures my total dedication to the causes I do accept.
It was only when I was convinced of your innocence that I agreed to take on your crisis PR needs through common friends. At the onset, I stressed the need for a cooperative client-as I have no intention of wasting anyone's time and money on efforts that do not go anywhere, because members of the team are pulling in different directions.
The temporary restraining order (TRO) is just one example. Allowing the probe would have given you additional forum to ventilate your stand-and show proof of your enemies' lies and malice. Insisting on a legal clampdown, on the other hand, has raised speculation about hidden matters.
Also, I have failed to convince you to make yourself more accessible to the press-as a way of putting to rest the old image of a •shadowy• businessman. Your natural eloquence and the strength of your arguments would have gone a long way in advancing BW's cause.
But your insistence on shying away from legitimate media fora, in turn dissipated the effort to pin the scandal on sectors out to destabilize the Estrada administration-as I honestly believe to be the case.
I feel I have done my best. But, as I have stated, my efforts can match those of the client. I am a craftsman, not a miracle worker. If a client refuses to respect my advice, there is no point in continuing a partnership.
Although I am henceforth pulling out from your crisis-PR campaign effective today, March 15, 2000, rest assured that I will continue to pray for your success and that of the country.
Bubby P. Dacer
October 20, 2000
Gen. Jose T. Almonte
I write instead of calling you to avoid being recorded by General Lacson and President Estrada. I have been repeatedly warned by friends in the Police, Military, Local Governments, Business and media that President Estrada has tagged me as the field officer in the alleged destabilization campaign against the admin. Governor Villafuerte, Governor Bong Revilla and an Administrator of a national government agency also called yesterday to reiterate their concern. A Manila Police officer (a longtime friend) yesterday called to suggest a safehouse for me. While I appreciated all these concerns, I politely declined any offer of safehouses.
During the last few days, I closely coordinated the decision of Rep. Alan Cayetano to bolt Lamp and the refusal of Bong Revilla to sign endorsement of support for Erap. I also verified with Mayor Marquez the reported decision to bolt Lakas. He denied it. FVR called last night 3 times and made several requests.
Tomorrow, I will leave for the US via Taipei for 3 days. I will stay in our home in Long Beach-the attached calling card. I will have meetings with two US business clients and will stay, perhaps, for two weeks in Long Beach. I will be in touch. Please take care of yourself and please, please look into the welfare of my two daughters in Sun Valley-Amy and Sabina.
I pray as you do.
November 10, 1999
GENERAL JOSE ALMONTE
Subject: ATTACKS ON FORMER PRESIDENT FIDEL V. RAMOS
Media reports these past few weeks seem to indicate that the incumbent Administration is bent on' stepping up its efforts to smear the good name of former President Fidel V Ramos, and undermine his legacy to the nation.
It is sad that this hate campaign is being waged at a time of pressing problems for the citizenry. Indeed, prodigious amount of energy and resources are being poured into the anti-FVR effort-taking away so much time and talent from the more urgent task of solving economic and political woes. But, perhaps this is really the intention. It is easier to find a scapegoat, it is easier to orchestrate some diversion, than to root out the incompetence and political infighting that have worsened many of the country's problems.
The attacks, however, have passed the point of decency and responsibility. Believing that former President Ramos did a heroic job of putting back the Philippines on feet and reclaiming some prestige for our nation in the international community. I feel that it is time to set the record straight. While not perfect, the fact remains that the Ramos Administration had strengthened the nation’s economic and political foundation, providing its successor with a firm base on which to build its own platform of governance.
At any rate, may I extend any humble service needed to help former President Ramos in this time of need. I have I have always granted him the same amount of respect and admiration as I have my mentor (you). And I believe that confronting this problem will help not only the former President, but the nation as well.
Having faith in your wisdom, I await your word.
July 27, 1999
GEN. JOSE T ALMONTE
Subject: GEN. PANFILO LACSON'S MANIPULATION OF PRESIDENT JOSEPH E ESTRADA
My dear SIR,
I have just cleared up the mystery behind President Joseph Estrada's insistent accusations tagging former President Fidel V. Ramos, your good self and Gen. Libarnes as masterminds of a plot to undermine his Administration. Despite my friendship with His Excellency, my name was also drawn into this alleged plot, for a time straining our relations. The plot, as the President has been made to believe, includes dragging the names of his relatives and friends into sensational corruption cases; and destroying his closest aides in an attempt to destabilize the national political situation. You, more than anyone else, know that these are all LIES.
It was no less than GENERAL PANFILO 'PING' LACSON who concocted and spread these lies. The President's most trusted aide, his top intelligence man, is the one responsible in needlessly alarming His Excellency. Gen. Lacson is also feeding him disinformation in other very critical areas.
I learned of this from a very credible and vital EYEWITNESS. Tony Lopez, Manila bureau chief of Asiaweek, is like a brother to me. He is just alarmed about the implications of Gen. Lacson's behavior.
Tony said it was while he was interviewing President Estrada shortly before his June 7 trip to Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bangkok that Gen. Lacson came to tell his lies. Tony was there the whole time and heard everything Ping Lacson told the President.
Gen. Lacson reported that he had "confirmed" your involvement in a plot to implicate the President in illegal wire-tapping activities and to drag relatives and friends into big scandals. AS 'PROOF', GEN. LACSON CLAIMED THAT THESE PLOTS WERE HATCHED IN A MEETING ATTENDED BY FORMER PRESIDENT RAMOS, YOURSELF, GEN. LIBARNES-AND MYSELF.
...And when I stopped joining Presidential trips to spare the President from intrigues raised by his envious friends, it only increased this suspicion.
Gen. Lacson's malicious and evil plan almost worked. No wonder, every time we saw each other, the President would always confront me and insist that former President Ramos and your good self were behind every problem that faced this Administration.
I fear that it will not be the last attempt of Gen. Lacson. He will always find a way to pin blame on officials of the previous administration. Were the attacks centered solely on me, I would not be too bothered. I am worried, however, that Gen. Lacson's schemes will ultimately weaken the President or lead him astray and that is something that should not be allowed to happen.
Bubby P. Dacer