Should Ping come out of hiding now?

PNS — SEVERAL lawyer-lawmakers were split yesterday over whether or not fugitive Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson should come out of hiding since the Court of Appeals has cleared him of involvement in the murders of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2000.

In an interview, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, a lawyer, maintained that Lacson should face the music being an elected senator of the country.

“I have always maintained that Sen. Lacson should come out and face the charges. Napaka-brutal ng pagpatay kina Dacer at napakalaking kaso nito kaya dapat maharap at malutas. Ngayong may decision ang CA, lalong dapat siyang lumabas,” said Colmenares.

Though it does not look good, Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, also a lawyer and a former officer of the Philippine Navy, stressed he cannot blame Lacson for turning fugitive because of the serious harassment threat by the previous Arroyo administration.

“On its face, it may not be the ideal conduct of an elected lawmaker but if taken in the context of the propensity of the previous administration of harassing and targeting those who just don’t say yes to their ways, then the conduct of Senator Lacson can be understood,” said Abaya in a separate interview.

Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, a lawyer and former deputy director for comptrollership during Lacson’s stint as chief of the Philippine National Police, said his “friendly advice” to Lacson is to face his case squarely.

But as a lawyer, Acop said he would advise Lacson to remain in hiding since the prosecution can appeal the ruling, adding that the arrest warrant against the fugitive senator will remain even if the case reaches the Supreme Court.

“If I were in his shoes, as a friend and political animal, I would tell him to come out now. But as a lawyer, he should stay where he is now because the appeal can still be made. I also believe that the warrant of arrest remains standing even if the case is elevated to the Supreme Court,” said Acop, who admitted that he is a close friend of Lacson and a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1970.

Like Acop, Abaya said “he has to wait until the order of CA becomes final and executory. When no appeal to SC is made and same becomes final and executory, then there will be no more reason for Senator Lacson not to come out.”

Earlier, Acop vowed to join Lacson in prison if this would induce him to face the Dacer-Corbito double murder case.