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Mar 29th
Home Columns JGL Eye Does Senator Lacson Know About “Respondeat Superior” Doctrine?
Does Senator Lacson Know About “Respondeat Superior” Doctrine? PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - JGL Eye
Friday, 17 June 2011 19:33


JGL Eye Column


(© 2011 Journal Group Link International)


C HICAGO (jGLi) – ABC News anchor John Quinones hosts an American television primetime newsmagazine, “What Would You Do?”


The show is about setting up everyday scenarios that reflect on how people react, why they react, and when they decide to. The good thing about those committing injustices or illegal activities is that Quinones, who is video-taping the scenarios from the background unknown to some of the actors, will pop out and tell those people, who intervene that they are on TV and the situation is not real.


Suppose it was for real when then Gen. Panfilo "Ping" M. Lacson was told by his subordinates that publicist Salvador Dacer and Dacer’s driver were reported kidnapped and burned to ashes in his backyard in Cavite in the Philippines, the first thing that you will ask Mr. Lacson, “What did you (Mr. Lacson) do?”


If Mr. Lacson had no knowledge of what happened to Dacer-Corbito murders before he was informed about it, the first thing that Mr. Lacson would have done was to order a no-nonsense investigation.


This is going to be the challenge that the investigators of the Dacer-Corbito murders will have to face when they re-open its investigation:  How do you prod Mr. Lacson to answer the first question, “When was the first time that you came to know about the murders, Mr. Senator?” And the next question, “What did you do soon after you were informed of the murders?”


If Mr. Lacson can come up with convincing answers or alibis, then, his answers could mitigate the circumstances to the murder charges against him.


If not, they will only be aggravating factors to the charges against him.


If Mr. Lacson would say that the officers who abducted, strangled and burned Dacer and Corbito to ashes did the murders without his knowledge, under command responsibility he is still responsible for the murders since it was his duty and responsibility to choose the men under his command.


And besides, another follow-up question will be asked: What benefit will his subordinates get out of the murdered victims? They did not take Dacer’s SUV to the chop-chop shop in exchange for cash. They just dumped it to a ravine.



If the men under
Ping’s command have nothing to do with the murders, why did they leave the Philippines instead of staying and pursuing the murderers?


If the few good men he chose did the right thing, then, Lacson should be commended for hiring those good police officers. Conversely, if Mr. Lacson hired killers, then he is just as guilty and he should be included in the murder conspiracy.


Perhaps, Mr. Lacson has not yet heard of the doctrine of “Respondeat Superior.” Under this doctrine, the principal/employer is liable for any harm caused to a third party by an agent/employee within the scope of employment.


A security supervisor, like Mr. Lacson, under this doctrine, holds “an all-encompassing position. A security supervisor is expected to know everything from policies, procedures, training, hiring, basic management, to various legal aspects of their industry including the doctrine of ‘Respondeat Superior’.”


It is often the security supervisor who can play the greatest role in reducing an employer's liability under “respondeat superior,” according to this doctrine. A security supervisor can be an excellent risk-management tool for the company, and play a crucial role in saving the company's valuable assets. In this case, because Ping Lacson was a government supervisor, he is part of the government’s assets.




U nder this doctrine, the courts will usually consider eight factors when deciding whether an act was committed under the scope of employment, and thus would fall under the doctrine of “respondeat superior.” Of these eight factors the first four are of the most importance, according to the book, “West’s Legal Studies in Business,” by Kenneth W. Clarkson, Roger LeRoy Miller, Gaylord A. Jentz and Frank B. Cross, Eight Edition, U.S.A., (2001):


  1. Did the employer (supervisor) authorize the employee's act?
  2. The time, place, and purpose of the act?
  3. Was the act commonly performed by employees on behalf of the employer (supervisor)?
  4. How far was the employer's (supervisor’s) interest advanced by the act?
  5. The extent that the private interests of the employees were involved?
  6. Did the employer (supervisor) furnish the means for the act that lead to the injury? (Example: vehicles, weapons, computers or cell phone, etc.)
  7. Did the employer (supervisor) have reason to know the employee would perform the act, or has preformed the act in the past? And
  8. Whether the act involved the commission of a crime.




D id Mr. Lacson try to stop principal suspects Michael Ray Aquino and Cezar Mancao from fleeing from the Philippines?


If not, did he recommend to authorities that they be extradited back to the Philippines?


If Mr. Lacson is able to navigate away from this double murder case, he will adding this case to his legend, like Chicago’s Al Capone, who was suspected of the 1929 St. Valentine Day Massacre of seven people.


Like Capone, Mr. Lacson, along with Aquino and Mancao, was earlier charged and later cleared in the murders of a gang of armed robbers known as “Kuratong Baleleng Group.”


Capone was convicted in 1931 with income tax evasion and was sentenced to ten years in a Federal institution, plus one year in the Cook County Jail for attempted jury tampering.


With the impending arrival of Mr. Aquino in the Philippines, the Philippine Department of Justice should press for the arrest and extradition of another principal co-accused in the Dacer-Corbito murders, former Police Inspector Vicente P. Arnado, who is said to be in United States.


With the change of Administration, shouldn’t all the accused in this double murder, who are still at large, show up and tell their stories that they are innocent in the murders?


I suggest the re-investigation be covered by television, like the Maguindanao Massacre trial. But Mr. Lacson and other co-accused should be told that the TV coverage is for real. Not a segment of “What Would You Do?” # # #


Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (


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