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Aug 12th
Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Aquino Not Part of Murder Conspiracy, Says Lawyer
Aquino Not Part of Murder Conspiracy, Says Lawyer PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Tuesday, 10 November 2009 10:23


(©2009 Journal Group Link International)

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – Former Philippine police Superintendent Michael Ray B. Aquino is not part of the chain of command that conspired in the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel Corbito, in 2000.


According to Aquino’s lawyer, Mark A. Berman, MRA (Aquino) had no part in the conspiracy that was decided by his subordinates.


Berman said Aquino may have “ordered the investigation and that he directed (former police Superintendent Glenn G.) Dumlao to interrogate Dacer. (But) there is no evidence whatsoever that the interrogation was itself unlawful.”


In asking Magistrate Judge Esther Salas of the United States District Court of New Jersey in Newark not to “support entry of an Order of Extradition,” Mr. Berman said that “MRA (Aquino) does not admit (and has never admitted) that he ordered the abduction or interrogation of Dacer.”


In a six-page letter Monday (Nov. 9), opposing the U.S. government’s Nov. 2 letter, supporting Aquino’s extradition, Berman said, it was “Dumlao and (former Police Chief Inspector Vicente) Arnado (who) directed other PAOCTF (Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force) members to kill (publicist Salvador “Bubby”) Dacer (and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel) Corbito.”


Citing the “doctrine of respondeat superior,” which “cannot support imposition of individual criminal liability,” Berman said, “the mere existence of a chain of command within the Philippines National Police does not show that MRA ordered the murders; notably, the government does not cite a single case for the proposition that the existence of a chain of command tends to show that a superior officer directed the unlawful acts of his subordinates.”


Berman cited inconsistencies offered by the U.S. government while SPO4 Marino Soberano and SPO3 Jose Escalante “aver that Dumlao and Arnado ordered the killings, Dumlao denied the allegation that he was complicit in the Dacer and Corbito murders.”


Berman added that while “Dumlao and (former Police Superintendent Cezar O.) Mancao vigorously deny participation in the murders, each accuses the other of culpable involvement.”


Regardless of these inconsistencies of the proofs offered by the Philippine government, Berman said, “there are no inconsistencies in the evidence insofar as this evidence pertains to MRA: neither Dumlao, nor Soberano, nor Escalante say that MRA ordered the murders of Dacer and Corbito.”


Berman said the U.S. government concocted the fantasy when it argued that “Dumlao and Arnado would have ordered the killings of Dacer and Corbito in connection with Aquino’s special operation without being directed to do so or with the knowledge of Aquino.”


Belittling the government argument that “a conspirator is not required to know every objective of a conspiracy,” Berman said, “the critical point is that the government is at least required to show that the defendant shared the same unlawful object of the conspiracy contemplated by his alleged co-conspirators and charged in the indictment.”


Saying that there is “no probable cause that MRA agreed with others to murder them,” Berman said the Philippine government’s “extradition package contains no evidence that MRA directly ordered the murders of Dacer and Corbito;


“Second, there is no evidence whatsoever that MRA was aware that they were going to be killed before the murders took place and, even if there were such evidence, mere knowledge is not sufficient to establish he joined the charged conspiracy;


And “third, to the extent there is evidence that MRA learned about the murders after-the-fact and ‘was complicit in the cover-up,’ whatever that means, MRA has not been charged as an accessory-after-the-fact and he cannot be extradited on that basis even if the government were able to prove his complicity in any cover-up beyond a reasonable doubt.”


Berman also questioned the use by the U.S. government of “parts of the deposition transcripts that were outside the scope of the Court’s limited order, permitting defense counsel to depose Macao and Dumlao.”


He cited the testimony of Mancao, who said, “at least one of the special operations (prior to the one that led to the instant murder charges against Aquino) resulted in the murder by PAOCTF members of a political opponent of President Estrada.”


Berman said such testimony was not anticipated by the Court or by the defense counsel, who attempted to adhere to the Courts’ order. He wanted this testimony “not to constitute evidence in this extradition hearing.”


The court will hear the extradition case on Nov. 23. (


C opyright 2009 The Journal Group Link International. The contents provided in the JGLi may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of the Journal Group Link International.



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 November 2009 10:30

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