SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The four daughters of a slain Filipino publicist demand $120 million from former Philippine government officials and police whom they blame for their father’s murder. They say their father was blindfolded, hogtied and strangled with a wire after being kidnapped on his way to meet former President Fidel Ramos.
The daughters of Salvador “Bubby” Dacer describe their murdered father as a “prominent and influential publicist in the Philippines” who represented “local and multinational companies, publicly elected officials, local personalities and foreign governments.”
According to their federal lawsuit, Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito, were “abducted” by members of the Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Task Force while en route to meet with Ramos on Nov. 24, 2000.
The two men were allegedly interrogated by Glenn Dumlao, a police colonel, about their meetings with Ramos and “what the plans of the opposition are.”
After they were interrogated, Dacer and Corbito were “blindfolded, hogtied and gagged” and then strangled with a wire, and their bodies burned in a dry creek, the daughters say.
Dacer supported Estrada’s candidacy for president in 1997 and his election in May 1998, his daughters say. Estrada was the godfather to Dacer’s daughter, Amparo Dacer-Henson, according to the complaint.
On July 30, 1998, Estrada created the Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Task Force to “conduct intelligence and counter-intelligence operations to identify government officials, crime syndicates and their cohorts who are involved in criminal activities,” the lawsuit states. The unit was to contain “elite members” of the Philippine National Police.
Beginning in January 1999, Gen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, a Philippines senator, allegedly ordered Dumlao to “conduct discrete background investigation” on Dacer. Dumlao was told to monitor Dacer’s visitors and to enter his office and “steal or destroy whatever documents that could be taken,” the daughters say.
On March 29, 1999, Emil Jurado, a newspaper columnist for the Manila Standard, wrote that Dacer was part of a “demolition team” aimed at “embarrassing President Estrada.'”
Dacer denied the charges in a letter to Estrada, but a few months later, Jurado wrote that “‘[o]n the flight to Tokyo, the President expressed his great disappointment in a PR man whom he had considered a friend … who has been identified with a demolition team out to embarrass not only his administration but his presidency as well.'”
Dacer again wrote to Estrada to “explain his side and counter the ‘lies’ which he believed ‘were caused by envy’ of people ‘attempt[ing] to drive a wedge’ between them,” the lawsuit states.
Dacer also wrote Jurado, expressing his “deep sorrow” about the columns and voicing his suspicion that “‘Gen. Ping Lacson has been rekindling all the inimical gossip against [him] … in revenge of [his] support for Gen. Bobby Lastimoso,’ the PNP Director-General at the time and Lacson’s nemesis in the so-called ‘Generals’ War,’ the long-running feud between the two generals,” according to the lawsuit.
Dacer’s daughters say the Estrada administration believed that their father was involved with “destabilization attempts” and was thought to have obtained “sensitive documents” that would incriminate people linked to the president.
They say Dacer had offered his public relation services to Dante Tan, former president of the Best World Gaming and Entertainment Corp., a company that was bogged down by allegations of “insider trading and stock manipulation.” Estrada’s son, Jose Victor Ejercito, owned the largest share of stocks in the company.
In November 2000, Dacer was allegedly “severely berated” by President Estrada, who claimed that “government intelligence operatives had informed him that Dacer had been actively working with former President Ramos and other opposition figures to have Estrada impeached.”
Dacer denied Estrada’s allegations and left the meeting “in fear of his life,” his daughters say.
Estrada resigned the presidency on Jan. 20, 2001, after a known “gambling lord and governor” claimed that he had given Estrada $400 million “as payoff from illegal gambling profits,” the lawsuit states.
Dumlao later admitted his participation in the interrogations of Dacer and Corbito, but not to their slayings, the complaint claims.
Dacer’s four daughters seek at least $20 million, plus another $100 million in punitive damages, under the Torture Victim Protection Act and the Alien Tort Claims Act.
They are represented by Rodel Rodis of San Francisco.