the dacer whodunit
i had just typed in the title of this post and was making buwelo to share my thoughts on the lacson-estrada senate showdow in the context of the dacer-corbito murders nang nabulaga ako kay senador miriam defensor santiago looking good in a yellow suit (!) and in fighting form, taking on the u.s. of a. no less, president obama no less, and calling for the abrogation and renegotiation of the visiting forces agreement, yey, ang saya, it’s about time, mabuhay si miriam! that was a good speech, covered all the bases, a must-read for every thinking filipino who truly wants change. america is part of our problem. america is the elephant, the gorilla, the dambuhala in the room that we don’t talk about.
it is even said that you have to be amboy (amgirl) to win the presidency of the philippines. someone correct me if i’m wrong that estrada was the exception; he won even if america didn’t want him to win. and now that he’s bent on running for president again, i wouldn’t be surprised if america is helping either the administration or the opposition, or both, to harass him into dropping out of the race. which brings me back to the dacer case.
back in march, herman tiu laurel asked:
Why has the US opened the way for the return of Mancao and Dumlao at this time? Of course, we know that the US has always meddled in our affairs. But why this particular case?
Reliablemilitary intelligence sources we talked to insist that the affidavits of Mancao and Dumlao will implicate Estrada, as what Michael Ray Aquino’s will later do. They are convinced that this campaign, which involves the US, vividly betrays Uncle Sam’s fear of Estrada as being the only serious obstacle to its 2010 plan of installing a new Gloria Arroyo puppet in the guise of someone invited to Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast no less?
but, if so, it would seem that gma isn’t playing along with america, not the way the dept of justice is rather assiduously trying to pin the murders on lacson instead. so wazzup wazzup? what’s the deal between gma and erap? bati na ba sila? bakit nila pinagtutulungan si ping? even fvr’s joe almonte has jumped in, also making diin ping lacson based on dacer’s letters daw, and dacer allegedly having told a daughter that if anything were to happen to him, ping would be to blame.
and yet there are these very intriguing stories about fvr and almonte. check out politicaljunkie’s A few things you might find interesting about the Bubby Dacer case, which includes sol vanzi’s newsflash report about general almonte . . .
DACERS ASKED TO COMMENT ON PRIEST’S EXPOSE
Manila, April 9, 2001 – The family of public relations man Salvador “Bubby” Dacer was asked yesterday to comment on the statements of a Parañaque priest over the possible knowledge of former President Ramos and his national security adviser Jose Almonte in Dacer’s disappearance.
The opposition Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino said yesterday: “We appeal to the Dacer family to come out and confirm or deny Fr. (Gabriel) Baldostamon’s statement. We understand the pain they must feel at the continued disappearance of their father, but they must come out in order to help shed light on this matter. Don’t be afraid of Ramos and Almonte.”
Fr. Baldostamon is the parish priest of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary church in Sun Valley Subd. where the Dacer family lives.
He claimed to have heard Almonte “consoling” the Dacer family that should they recover or “arrange” for Dacer’s release, they would spirit him out to the United States and make it appear that he was still missing.
Baldostamon said Almonte made the statement in a breakfast meeting with the Dacer family about 10 days after his disappearance.
“Did Almonte really say that?” the LDP asked. “If he did, he must explain his intentions for doing so and why did he sound as if he had contact with Dacer’s abductors?”
The story is now told to close friends by the Dacer children, Ampy and Sabina, that the Ramos visit to Dacer’s office on that fateful day of the disappearance was very uncharacteristic. In the many years of Dacer and Ramos’ professional dealings, never once did Ramos visit Dacer’s office. But on the day of Dacer’s kidnapping Ramos did, and after only an hour of waiting he started making it too obvious he was concerned—by calling media about his alarm over Dacer’s disappearance.
It could have just been traffic, a flat tire or engine trouble, a sudden family emergency, a bum stomach, an extended breakfast meeting, or a hundred other small possibilities that delayed Dacer for an hour. With cell phone service the way it is today, and service providers undermining each other by delaying interconnections or with cell sites jammed or down, an hour’s wait to get a cell phone connection happens quite frequently. So, delayed cell phone contact is not sufficient reason to panic and call media . . .
so why haven’t the media been following up on these? takot ba sila kay almonte? takot ba sila kay fvr? what if ping and erap are innocent pala? and we’re just being taken for a ride? to what end?
of course it doesn’t make sense that dumlao and mancao are involved if it were an fvr-almonte operation. but we don’t know enough to rule anything out. even dumlao and mancao keep changing their statements daw. involved ba talaga sila, o nagpapanggap lang.
“Not known to many who are following this case, Cezar Mancao and Glen Dumlao, to date have executed three sworn statements each. In this case, the contents of the affidavits are modified at each turn, and it would take some patience and perhaps extra-professional expertise to separate the grains of truth from the specks of dirt in the testimonies given by both affiants,” Lacson said.
as for dacer himself, i have no idea how he operated or who his clients were, only that he was the top public-relations guy in political manila with awesome access to the media, and he could make anyone smell good and look good.
but i do have an idea what public relations work is like. you have to take your client’s side, with conviction, and you try not to take on clients with opposing positions para walang conflict of interest. that is, if you want to stay sane and whole and credible. easier said than done, i know, especially if you’re dealing with, and handling, presidents with huge egos. how do you say no to a president (former or incumbent) without incurring his royal ire. read fel maragay’s Man in White.
. . . Dacer, a handsome, bemoustached Spanish-looking mestizo, could hardly write journalistic pieces. But the glib-tongued Bicolano was gifted with exceptional social skills, a knack for befriending fellowmen—perhaps his most important asset that enabled him to climb to the top in his chosen profession. When big-time businessmen were locked in make-or-break competition or feud with rivals over a major project and they needed an expert in crisis PR, the name of Dacer would usually crop up. Crisis PR was his forte.
The flamboyant PR practitioner was often described as “the man in white” because he was always clad in an all-white attire. But his detractors snickered that he was the “devil in white” because of the devious scheme that he purportedly employed to attack the targets of some of his covert PR operations.
In the early 1990s, Dacer held office in a small corner at the ground floor of the Manila Hotel. But his enterprise started to ride high after Fidel Ramos assumed the presidency. He became the private publicist of Ramos and of Ramos’ most trusted Cabinet member, then National Security Adviser Jose Almonte. Not long after, Dacer transferred to a spacious room on the second floor of the hotel. He handled the PR work for the Swiss firm, Societe General de Surveillance, which had a P4-billion annual contract with the Bureau of Customs for the valuation of imported goods. He became a point man or liaison between the Philippines and Taiwan, a chore which he handled with gusto. His services were also tapped by several public officials and private individuals, as well as prominent business firms.
During the 1998 presidential elections, Ramos tried to persuade Dacer to help in the campaign of a principal ally, then House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. the Lakas standard-bearer. But Dacer begged off, opting to stay neutral because the strongest candidate, Joseph Estrada, was his kumpadre.
When Estrada became president, Dacer maintained cordial relations with him. He was occasionally asked by the then President to do some PR assignments for his administration. Dacer enjoyed easy access to the Palace, from time to time accompanying foreign businessmen during courtesy calls to the President in which investments plans were usually discussed. Dacer loved to tell people that his friendship with Estrada dated back to the days when he was a multi-awarded movie actor. Estrada played godfather when Dacer’s daughter Ampy was baptized. And when Ampy got married, Estrada was one of the wedding sponsors.
Despite his association with Estrada, the kind of political influence Dacer wielded at that time paled in comparison with the one he enjoyed during the Ramos presidency. Estrada somewhat kept him at a distance, perhaps because he was not sure of Dacer’s loyalty, due to his long association with Ramos and Almonte. When the Estrada government unleashed a persecution campaign against Ramos over the so-called multi-billion pesos Expo scam and other anomalies, Dacer clumsily watched from the sidelines, cautiously steering clear of the raging conflict between two men dear to him.
Dacer’s troubles began when he was dragged into the rift between then National Police director general Roberto Lastimoso and then Chief Supt. (now senator) Panfilo Lacson, who was at that time head of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force. Lastimoso’s hold on the top PNP post turned shaky amid allegation that he was remiss in his duty in going after a suspected drug lord. He sought Dacer’s help in the media war and the PR man came to his rescue. But Lastimoso lost the fight and was eventually replaced by Lacson as PNP chief . . .
in the end, minalas si dacer. maybe he knew too much. maybe he had become a threat. maybe he couldn’t be trusted anymore.
but what if the demolition job on ping lacson is more of the same, because he knows too much, because he has become a threat, the way he keeps shooting his mouth off in the senate.
in that case, i’d say he’s doing the right thing. i suggest a pahabol privilege speech on the bentain case, the fvr-almonte connection, even the american connection, and anything else relevant that he knows of. so if anything should happen to him (cross our fingers, knock on wood) we’d have a better idea whom (or whom-whom) to blame.