By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Jan. 23, 2014
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The U.S.-based daughters of slain publicist, Salvador Dacer, have just been awarded more than four million dollars in damages by a U.S. federal court.
But their counsel, Attorney Rodel Rodis, admitted it will be difficult to collect from defendant, Michael Ray Aquino, who has been extradited to the Philippines.
Aquino, who now works at a casino in the Philippines, has refused to comment at this time. Rodis said an option for his clients is to hire lawyers in the Philippines to convince the court there to force Aquino to pay up.
He said, “The judgment from a U.S. court can be brought to the Philippines and can be presented to a court, for the purpose of registering it and collecting on it.”
Rodis said Aquino’s assets could be seized, if the Philippine court deems it necessary.
What’s certain for now, is that Aquino, as ordered by the judge, cannot return to the U.S. unless he pays the Dacer sisters in full.
But Rodis said the Dacer sisters filed this civil suit in 2010, not to get money, but to hold accountable those they believe were responsible for the murder of their father and his driver thirteen years ago.
Dacer was reportedly about to expose corruption practices by former President Joseph Estrada and former Senator Panfilo Lacson — before he was permanently silenced. His driver, Emmanuel Corbito, was also found dead along with Dacer, in a ditch in Cavite.
“The issue is that a U.S. federal court determined that Michael Ray Aquino, at the behest of certain individuals, participated and stage-managed the abduction, torture and execution of (Salvador) Bubby Dacer and Manuel Corbito and that the victims, the children of Dacer deserve compensation.”
While the Philippine courts has cleared Aquino, Estrada and Lacson of any criminal involvement in Dacer’s murder, Rodis said this U.S. civil judgment is still some form of justice.
Rodis concluded, “There’s no statute of limitations to murder and when you participate in it, somehow, down the road, justice will find a way of coming out.”
You may contact Henni Espinosa at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Finish your knitting project Rodis and stop day dreaming .