Ping manhunt pressed

PNS — THE manhunt for elusive lawmaker Sen. Panfilo Lacson is still on despite the recent Court of Appeals ruling clearing him of any involvement in the celebrated Dacer-Corbito double murder case.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima stressed that until the CA ruling lifting the warrrant of arrest is final and executory, nothing can stop authorities from arresting Lacson who immediately went into hiding after the warrant was issued by a Manila Court.

”Unless there is a categorical pronouncement in the dispositive portion of the CA decision that the nullification and setting aside of the warrant of arrest is immediately final and executory, I don’t think they can claim that it’s immediately lifted,” the DoJ chief stressed.

Lacson’s lawyer how -ever disagreed saying the warrant is automatically lifted.

“I imagine he understands there can be a motion for reconsideration or an appeal to the SC, which is not a matter of right. But our opinion is that even if the CA’s decision were to be contested, the CA’s setting aside of the arrest warrants against Lacson is immediately executory,” Lacson lawyer Alex Poblador said.

Sen. Edgardo Angara likewise said the CA decision clearing Lacson of the Dacer and Corbito double murder case means the warrant for his arrest is already null and void.

He and De Lima were both speakers at yesterday’s 2nd International Conference on Cybercrime held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City.

“Automatic na sa CA decision na cleared na si Sen. Lacson sa double murder na wala nang warrant for his arrest,” Angara said.

Lacson has been in hiding since January 2010. He went abroad before a Manila court issued a warrant for his arrest.

Meanwhile, the camp of Dacer yesterday said that they would be working with the Department of Justice on an appeal against the CA ruling.

”We are joining forces with the DoJ to appeal the decision,” Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, the Dacer family’s legal counsel, stressed.

Topacio stressed they can still file a motion for reconsideration. They can also take the case directly to the Supreme Court.

“The decision becomes final and executory if the People of the Philippines through the DoJ or Dacer’s family will not contest the CA decision. But that situation does not exist yet,” he pointed out.

Topacio said the CA decision was a symptom of an “abnormal criminal justice system” where “you can expect the unexpected.”