More witnesses in Dacer slay surface

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — MORE witnesses in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case are coming out, prompting the Department of Justice to reconvene its panel of prosecutors that handled the case nine years ago.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez disclosed that retired police colonel Reynaldo Berroya has surfaced pending extradition of suspects former police officials Cesar Mancao II and Glenn Dumlao from the United States.

Gonzalez said two civilians who claimed to have witnessed the killing of former publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in Indang, Cavite went to his office Wednesday night and expressed their willingness to testify.

“I think we’ve opened Pandora’s box already. Maybe witnesses are coming out just now when they are already comfortable with the assurance that they will be protected,” he said.

The DoJ chief said Berroya called him up and volunteered to testify in the reopening of the celebrated case. Gonzalez believes that Berroya’s testimony may be credible as it is consistent with the statements of Mancao and Dumlao: “He knows a lot. He was the target and I think some of these people involved even told him about it later on.”

Gonzalez said both Mancao and Dumlao confirmed in their respective testimonies that Berroya was also a target in the operation.

He said Mancao witnessed a conversation where an official was ordering a subordinate to kill codename “Delta” (referring to Dacer).

The subordinate then suggested to the boss that they should first do away with codename “Berro” (referring to Berroya) who was already in the area. The latter then replied and said: “Pagsabayin nyo na lang. Tignan nalang natin kung sino mauuna.”

Gonzalez said Berroya will meet with the investigating panel composed of Senior State Prosecutor Phillip Kimpo, State Prosecutor Hazel Valdez, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Cielito Luyun, and Prosecution Attorney John Benedict Medina early next week.

”I want the new preliminary investigation to start even before Dumlao and Mancao arrive. I think there are more witnesses who will come out,” he stressed.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who has been tagged by Mancao as the mastermind, said Malacañang is behind the move to reopen the case.

“Malacañang has started to send in the clowns. After Berroya, I won‘t be surprised if the rest like Ador Mawanay et al will be resurrected again to make my life exciting once more,” Lacson told reporters.

Dumlao is expected to be extradited from the US in the next few days. Gonzalez said he expects the suspect before March 26.

He reiterated that both Dumlao and Mancao would be put under protective custody of the National Bureau of Investigation. Once they arrive, the preliminary investigation on the murder charges against them would begin.