NBI tightens security on Mancao, high-risk prisoners

June 12, 2009 12:06 pm 

MANILA, June 12 –Apart from former police Senior Superintendent Cezar Mancao II, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is also watching over high risk detainees, including a suspected terrorist and illegal drug operator, at its compound in Manila.

Lawyer Ruel Lasala, NBI deputy director for Intelligence Services, said the bureau was not only focused on Mancao, who is under the bureau protective custody, but other high-risk prisoners detained at the NBI detention cell as well.

“The NBI has also has its custody an alleged terrorist and an alleged drug operator. We are enforcing strict security measures not only on Mancao but as well as other detainees here,” said Lasala.

Lasala did not give further details for security reason.

But NBI records showed that the bureau was watching over detainees Mohammad Hatta Haipe, one of the five suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members who were arrested in Malaysia.

Haipe, Borhan Mundos, Gulam Mundos, Suffian Salih and Hasim Talib were deported to the Philippines on May 20 following their arrest in Malaysia last year.

Haipe was turned over to the bureau while the rest were brought to Philippine National Police (PNP) for custody.

The alleged ASG member-deportees arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) around 2 p.m., May 20. They were turned over to NBI and PNP authorities and were later booked for fingerprint and record verification.

Meanwhile, sometime in November, 2006, the NBI operatives arrested Amin Imam Buratong, 34, a native of Marawi City, the alleged operator of the "shabu [methamphetamine hydrochloride] tiangge [market]," which was raided in Pasig City in February, 2006. and one of his wives.

The NBI also arrested Buratong's wife Sheryll Molera, 22.

Buratong was arrested at the 36th floor of Salcedo Park, H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. His second wife, who was also taken in, along with their one-year-old son, was later released because no warrant of arrest has been issued against her.

Molera was arrested at a 21st floor unit of the Shang Towers on Perea Street, Makati.

Lasala said although Buratong had undergone "cosmetic surgical operation" in Thailand, including a nose lift and alterations to the eyes he was still positively identified.

Lawyer Roel Bolivar, chief of the NBI Reaction, Arrest and Interdiction Division (RAID) said Buratong's drug business had grown into a P900-million industry since he started in 1997.

He also said Buratong owned the 2,000-square-meter lot, located very near the Pasig City Hall, where the shabu tiangge was located.

The shabu tiangge was raided in Feb., 2006. Buratong was arrested several months later.

The NBI earlier said it deployed a food taster who examined the foods served on Mancao to ensure that he would not be poisoned.

Bomb snipping dogs were deployed in the safe house of Mancao.

Mancao, who was linked in 2000 Salvador “Bubby” Dacer –Emmanuel Corbito double murder case, can choose his visitors at his safe house even as the bureau created an alert team to secure him.

“There is a food taster, sort of, who will subject the food to test using an equipment to make sure that there is no poison in his food,” said deputy director for regional operations services (DDROS) lawyer Reynaldo Esmeralda.

Esmeralda confirmed that Mancao had his own master list of relatives and guests whom he wanted to see.

“He has a master list of relatives and friends and even public officials whom he (Mancao) wants to see. Only those who are in the list are allowed to visit him, even if they are high officials of the NBI and government if they are not in the list, then they will be barred from visiting him,” said Esmeralda.

More snipping dogs roam around the vicinity of Mancao’s safehouse.

This developed as Mancao is expected to stand trial before the Manila regional trial court (RTC) for the double murder case. Security at the NBI has been tightened and the vicinity, where Mancao’s sleeping quarters is located, is off limit not only to media and the public but as well as other bureau officials and employees who were not given access to the place.

So far, only close relatives and very few close friends have visited Mancao since day one of his arrival at the bureau, according to a reliable source.

Mancao’s wife, Maricar, who is set to arrive anytime will be provided with security by the NBI if there is a request from Mancao’s family to also secure her.

Lawyer Carolina Comon, clerk of court of Manila RTC Branch 18, will treat Mancao as an accused until such time he finally become a state witness.

The Manila RTC Branch 18 is hearing the Dacer-Corbito double murder case.

Mancao will be asked to appear in court for his arraignment.

“The prosecution is now preparing to file a motion for the setting of (Mancao's) arraignment,” Comon said.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez earlier said that Mancao, who is now being taken under protective custody by the NBI, is a “prospective state witness.”

“So far, Mancao remains an accused because he has not been discharged yet as an accused,” Comon said.

Unless there is a motion turning him into a state witness, Mancao will stand trial.

Comon said that now that the prosecution has rested its case after finishing presenting their evidence in court, the defense is now set to offer its evidence in court.

The next hearing will be set within this month.

Dacer and Corbito were abducted on Nov. 4, 2000, while he was on his way to a meeting with former President Fidel V. Ramos. Their vehicle and burned bodies were later found in Indang, Cavite

Mancao, who was escorted by two NBI officials, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) via PAL flight PR 103 around 5 a.m. June 4. (PNA)

RMA/JES

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