Slain publicist's daughters consider U.S. court judgment "some form of justice"

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 22, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – A United States Court for the Northern District of California has entered a judgment in the $60 million federal civil suit filed by Dacer sisters – Carina, Sabina, Amparo and Emily – against former Philippine President Joseph Estrada, former Senator Panfilo Lacson, police officer Michael Ray Aquino and four other defendants, under the Alien Tort Claims Act and Alien Torture Victims Protection Act, for their roles in the torture and execution of publicist Salvador Dacer.

The suit was filed in September 2010. Of the seven defendants, only Aquino was served. At the time the suit was filed, Aquino was being held at a New Jersey detention center. He has since been extradited to the Philippines.

The court concluded, based on evidence, that Aquino was ordered to kill Dacer. In Philippine courts, the defendants in this case, have been cleared of any criminal involvement in the 2000 murder.

According to court documents, the judge ordered Aquino to pay each of Dacer’s daughters more than one million dollars — totaling more than 4.2 million dollars.

The order will be sent to U.S. immigration officials, with the recommendation that Aquino not be allowed to enter the United States, unless he pays the judgment in full.

The judge took into consideration housing, medical and education expenses of the U.S.-based Dacer sisters, in the last thirteen years since their father died, before a judgment was entered.

Carina Dacer, one of the plaintiffs, responded to Balitang America’s requests to interview them. She and her sisters declined to comment at this time.

Attorney Rodel Rodis, counsel for the Dacer sisters said while his clients wanted to hold the defendants criminally-liable in the Philippines, they take comfort in knowing that they were given “some form of justice” with this judgment in U.S. court.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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