Friday, February 12, 2010

Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson Wanted for Murder(s)

panfilo ping lacson wantedSenator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson's face is plastered along the streets of Manila--not for a presidential campaign (as he had planned last year before things started turning for the worse), but because he is wanted for murder(s). The Manila Regional Trial Court ordered the arrest of Lacson on February 5, 2010 as the principal accused in the murders of Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.

If you ask me, it's about time that they've started getting to bottom of this case. I mean, it's been almost 10 years, and former President Joseph Estrada is not too far off from biting the dust, but he nor Lacson have yet to face the judicial consequences of their alleged crimes. For a little background as to why it makes sense that Estrada and Lacson wanted Dacer dead, read this first -- Who was Salvador "Bubby" Dacer?

Among a myriad of corrupt persons in the political arena, Lacson is probably one of the "darker" individuals. Perhaps he aptly represents the notorious Philippine National Police (PNP) (in fact, he was the PNP Director-General before he became a senator), which has been involved in such wrongdoings as supplying the Ampatuan clan with their arsenal of weapons used in the Maguindanao massacre. To add to the Dacer-Corbito murders, Lacson has also been linked to the killing of 11 members of the Kuratong Baleleng (Filipino mafia)--though these were likely bad people, it doesn't justify their outright killing (I mean come on, it can be argued that Estrada and Lacson are bad people, yet they're still breathing) because everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

Apart from the murders, it is interesting to note that Lacson suddenly became ridiculously rich in the 1990s. He was estimated to be worth approximately 26 million pesos (PHP) around the end of the 1990s, meaning he was already a millionaire in dollars considering the exchange rate at that time (1 USD was equivalent to mid 20's PHP during the 1990s). He was just a police chief (head of PNP) at the time, not even the senator he is now. Can someone explain how a police chief became so filthy rich with a police chief's salary? I mean, the president of the Philippines only earns 60,000 PHP per month. With that said though, aren't you all a little curious as to how several of the Philippine politicians (that weren't business tycoons beforehand) became so rich?

And I'm willing to bet that the 26 million estimated net worth of Lacson was probably not even close to his full value as many accounts/investments/corrupt money-making schemes were undoubtedly not disclosed. In an interview by in 2009, Transportation Undersecretary Reynaldo Berroya said that Dacer possessed documents showing Lacson was earning billions of pesos from stock manipulation. Berroya was chief of the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group at the time of the murders.

Senator Lacson left for Hong Kong on January 5, 2010 just days before the Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended the filing of murder charges against him. Lacson did admit that he escaped for fear of what he called “harassment” by the Arroyo administration. There are now reports that he could be in Australia.

Estrada, however, is still in the country, and let's not forget that he was allegedly involved. In former police senior superintendent Cezar Mancao's affidavit, which named Lacson as the mastermind of the murders of Dacer and Corbito, he also gave clear indication of former President Estrada's involvement in the case. Mancao testified at the Manila court that Lacson and Estrada sought the liquidation of Dacer after the latter threatened to expose Estrada’s (and likely Lacson's too) involvement in insider trading in the stock market.

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