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Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Exclusive: Michael Ray Aquino Breaks Silence
Exclusive: Michael Ray Aquino Breaks Silence PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - MiscellaNEWS
Thursday, 17 March 2011 17:13

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

Journal Group Link International)

  

C HICAGO (jGLi) – Former Philippine National Police superintendent Michael Ray B. Aquino has clarified that when information or indictment was recommended for filing against him and several others by the Philippine Department of Justice on May 11, 2001, three days before the 2001 national elections, he and fellow officer Cezar O. Mancao III and their superior, then, newly-retired PNP Chief Gen. Panfilo Lacson were cleared by the Philippine Supreme Court  “as result of the declaration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the State of Rebellion on May 1, 2001.”


He said General Lacson “was one of the candidates for Senator.  And we were helping him in the campaign at that time.”

 

Mr. Aquino, whose rank was equivalent to a colonel, added that a “warrantless arrest was ordered against us but quashed/lifted that day (5/11/01).”

 

But he did not explain that if he was cleared, why did he still go on to flee the Philippines and went to the United States afterwards.

 

In a letter to this reporter from his federal prisons, Mr. Aquino also apologized for not giving “my comments now with regard to my case here and in the Philippines. The appeal and the case in PH (Philippines) are pending resolution hence, they are sub judice.

 

“I hope you will understand. I do not want also to telegraph my next legal move though it is expected that I’ll exhaust all available legal remedies within the bounds of the criminal justice system here and in PH.

 

“Rest assured that I will keep your contact address and numbers and I will do my best to get in touch with you when I am ready for an interview.”

 

When he wrote the three-page handwritten letter in yellow-pad papers dated Feb. 10, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had not yet ruled on his appeal for his petition for habeas corpus.

 

But on Feb. 22 or ten days later, the Third Circuit denied his petition, affirming the District Court’s judgment, granting Aquino’s extradition to the Philippines.

 

HAS 45 CALENDAR DAYS TO FILE FOR REHEARING

 

C ourt sources said Mr. Aquino has 45 calendar days or until April 8, 2011, within which to file for a rehearing before the Third Circuit for the denial of his habeas-corpus petition.

 

If Mr. Aquino waives his right for rehearing, he can elevate his case before the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

In his letter, Mr. Aquino said, “please allow me to comment or make a modest contribution to the article you’ve written for GMANews TV posted on 01/05/11 at 4:16 p.m. to wit:

 

“The full text of SC decision on Allado, et al. vs. Judge Diokno et al. could be accessed through http://www.scrulings.com/ruling.php?no=32548

 

“I was not frustrated with the representation of my former counsel in my federal case and in my subsequent appeal to vacate my previous sentence of 76 months (U.S. v. MRA, 555 F. 3d.124 2009 US App. Lexis 2295, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit). In fairness to Mr. Mark Berman, he effectively and efficiently handled my legal problems. He did his best to represent and defend my interests and rights also in my extradition proceedings;

 

“The report on “the bone fragments tested negative for human DNA … (actually NEGATIVE RESULTS for the presence of human DNA) and the bone appeared to be animal skull” in your article was not prepared by Dr. Raquel Rosario-Fortun, a family friend and retained pathologist of the Dacer Family. (case 2:09-mj-07035-ES Document 20-1 9/18/09);

 

“The DNA Laboratory Report was prepared by Dr. Ma. Corazon de Ungria of the DNA Analysis Laboratory, Natural Sciences Research Institute of the University of the Philippines and based on the request submitted by the late Director Wycoco of the National Bureau of Investigation; and

 

“Likewise, the same DNA Laboratory Report was submitted as evidence by the defense during the trial of the case before the Manila Regional Trial Court on Jan. 30, 2006, before the PH (DOJ) government requested for our (including Cezar Mancao and Glenn Dumlao) extradition from the US Government.”

 

SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT IS EQUIVALENT TO COLONEL

 

He explained that as Senior Superintendent in the PNP, his rank was equivalent to the Colonel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He said he used to be Chief of the Operations Division of the disbanded Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF). “We were detailed to the Office of the President outside of our mother unit – the Philippine National Police. The PAOCTF was a composite unit with the law-enforcement personnel from Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, NBI, AFP, PNP, Land Registration Authority, etc. However in 2000, I was also appointed in concurrent capacity as Deputy Director of the PNP Intelligence Group.”

 

In a three-page per curiam opinion by Judges Anthony J. Scirica, Thomas Michael Hardiman and Thomas Vanaskie of the Third Circuit, the panel upheld the finding of U.S. Magistrate Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, who “found probable cause” that there was “competent evidence to justify holding the accused to await trial, … not … whether the evidence is sufficient to justify a conviction.”

 

Aquino, 43, filed his appeal pro se (acting his own lawyer). He is among the nearly two dozens of police officials and civilians, named defendants in the murders of Filipino publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel Corbito, in the Philippines. Other officials were former police superintendents Cezar O. Mancao and Glenn Dumlao.

 

Mr. Aquino will stand trial for murders in the Philippines if he is finally extradited to the Philippines.

 

Being suspected as masterminds in the twin killings were then General-turned-Senator Panfilo Lacson, who headed the PAOCTF and President Estrada. Senator Lacson, who turned fugitive, and former President Estrada have both denied involvement in the double murders. # # #

  

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

 



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Last Updated on Thursday, 17 March 2011 17:17
 

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