Witness in Dacer-Corbito slays gunned down in Cavite

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — A VITAL witness in the abduction and slaying of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito was gunned down by unidentified men shortly after midnight yesterday in Trece Martirez City.

Jimmy Lopez was shot dead a day before he was to appear before a panel of prosecutors probing the double murder during the resumption of preliminary investigation in Manila.

Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor, head of Task Force 211, said Lopez’s death was proof that some quarters are serious in stopping the re-opening of the case.

”This is a strong indication that the enemy is going to do everything to put a stop to the re-opening of the case,” Blancaflor said in a statement.

Lopez, former barangay captain of Buna Lejos, died on the spot. His woman companion was also killed when the suspects stormed his house at Reginaville, Subd. at 3 a.m.. Police said both victims had multiple gunshot wounds.

The victim, his brother William and another witness identified as Alex Diloy, are vital prosecution witnesses in the on-going trial of the Dacer-Corbito case before a Manila regional trial court.

Lopez and Diloy had identified four members of the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, namely SPO4 Marino Soberano, SPO3 Mauro Torres, SPO2 Jose Escalante and SPO1 Crisostomo Purificacion, as among those who had taken part in the killing of Dacer and Corbito.

In his testimony, he detailed his participation in the killing. He said a group led by SPO4 Soberano arrived at his house in Barangay Buen Alejos I, Indang, Cavite in the afternoon of Nov. 24, 2000 and asked him where they could hold the two victims for safekeeping.

Dacer and Corbito were hog-tied, blindfolded and gagged, according to him.

Lopez also recalled that the party arrived in two vehicles. Dacer and Corbito were still alive inside a white Toyota Lite Ace, he said. Soberano and the two other PAOCTF agents, Escalante and Purificacion, were onboard another vehicle, he added.

“They were looking for a place to hide the two men they brought with them. I said I would find a place, so I brought the group to the garage of my brother, William,” Lopez said.

He said the group waited until it was dark. At 8 p.m., the group left for a nearby creek, bringing the two victims with them, he said. Lopez said he stayed behind because he has trouble walking long distances.

According to the testimony of Diloy, Dacer and Corbito were not killed by the PAOCTF men right away. He said they were told to gather wood and old rubber tires to be used in burning the victims’ bodies.

Dacer and Corbito were made to lie face down, he said. Three men used an electrical cord to strangle them to death on the night of Nov. 24, 2000, the same day they were abducted in Manila.

Diloy had confessed that he helped build a pyre of wood and old tires to dispose of the remains of the victims, who they said, were set on fire after being doused with gasoline.