MANILA -- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said it already has an idea as to the location of Senator Panfilo Lacson, who is expected to be placed Monday under the Interpol’s “red notice” list.
"We have already an idea but we cannot give it to the media because it would be tantamount to telegraphing our moves to him (Lacson). I know he's also monitoring us," said NBI Regional Director Ricardo Diaz, chief of the NBI Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) and concurrent bureau spokesman.
Diaz said the NBI could not underestimate Lacson as he used to be the head of the Interpol Manila when he was the chief of Philippine National Police (PNP).
“He also monitors us. He also knows how the cooperation among the Interpol member-countries works,” Diaz said, stressing that revealing details about the senator’s whereabouts could affect NBI’s bid to arrest and bring him to the country to face trial for the Dacer-Corbito killings.
He said Lacson is expected to be placed in the Interpol “red notice” by Monday as the probe bureau is set to make a letter request to the international criminal police group with the issuance of a warrant of arrest against the senator last Friday.
“Monitoring started even as early as Wednesday or Thursday but that time, our counterparts could not hold him because he is not yet in the red notice. But once he is placed in the red notice, they can hold him,” Diaz said.
He also said verification made with the foreign counterparts’ intelligence network revealed that Lacson was not in United States and Australia.
“He left the country for Hong Kong on January 5 and has yet to return to the country...His Australian visa expired in 2008. His US visa was cancelled because he was named as unindicted co-conspirator in the espionage case involving former police senior superintendent Michael Ray Aquino and Filipino American Leandro Aragoncillo in the US,” Diaz said.
Meanwhile, NBI director lawyer Nestor M. Mantaring said Lacson would not be mixed with other bureau inmates once he was arrested.
He said the bureau had already prepared Lacson’s detention room inside the bureau compound. Furnishing of the room is almost done, said Mantaring.
Although wanted by authorities, Lacson is not yet considered a fugitive because “he was not hiding even though he had outstanding warrant of arrest for his two counts of murder charges,” said lawyer Alex Avisado.
The warrant of arrest was issued Friday by Judge Myra Garcia-Fernandez of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 18.
Avisado, however, said his client was not hiding and the government even knew his whereabouts, adding Lacson has no intension to abandon his defense.
He said in a phone interview that the senator’s lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration of the RTC’s ruling seeking to take a second look at its basis for the issuance of the warrant of arrest against him.
“It’s premature to call him a fugitive. Even if there is a warrant of arrest, it is not correct to call him a fugitive because we have not exhausted all legal remedies available to him under the law. He has no intention of abandoning his defense,” Avisado said.
Avisado also said under the law, his client has 15 days within which to file his motion for reconsideration to review the court’s finding of judicial probable cause and to ask that the enforcement of warrant be deferred.
He added, even if the Manila court denied their motion for reconsideration, they could still elevate it to the Court of Appeals (CA) or the Supreme Court (SC).
Once they have fully exhausted the legal remedies available to him, he said it would then be Lacson’s personal decision to surrender.
Lacson’s lawyers are set to file their motion next week.
The senator earlier admitted in a press statement that he went into hiding to evade what he called political persecution from the present administration and the Department of Justice, which filed the criminal complaint against him before the court. (ECV/With PNA/Sunnex)