CHICAGO (jGLi) – Former Philippine President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and other defendants may yet get off the hook from the $120-million civil suit pending before the United States District Court in Northern California in San Francisco by doing nothing.
In a minute order, Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero has ordered the lawyers of the surviving children of Salvador “Bubby” Dacer to serve the summons of the civil case on defendants “by 4/8/11, or the Court will dismiss this action.”
Judge Spero told lawyers Rodel Rodis and Errol Zshornack to give him a status report on April 1stat 1:30 p.m. “for a further case management conference.”
In an earlier summon issuedby the Clerk of Court, it said failure on the part of the defendants to respond would mean “judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint. You also must file your answer or motion with the court.”
Spero set last Dec. 17, 2010, the “last day to meet and confer initial disclosures, early settlement, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and discovery plan.”
Spero also set for Dec. 31, 2010, the last day to file “report, complete initial disclosures or objection, report and file Case Management Statement,” and calendar for Jan. 7, 2011 the initial case-management conference of the case courtroom A, 15th Floor, SF at 1:30 p.m.”
Last Sept. 16, lawyers for Carina Dacer, Sabina Dacer-Reyes, Amparo Dacer-Henson and Emily Dacer-Hungerford filed a 22-page action for compensatory and punitive damages for cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, torture and extrajudicial killing of Mr. Dacer. They demanded at least $20-million compensatory damages and $100-million punitive damages plus attorney’s fees and costs.
The Dacer children also demanded jury trial for Messrs. Estrada and Lacson, Reynaldo “Butch” Tenorio, Dante Tan, Michael Ray Aquino, Vicente Arnado, Glenn Dumlao, "individually and in their official capacity, and Does 1-100, inclusive, as defendants."
The lawsuit was based on the Alien Tort Claims Act (ACTA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) adopted from an obscure United States Judiciary Act of 1789 that vests “district courts” original jurisdiction on any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.
It is also based on the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, aninternational human rights instrument, under the review of theUnited Nations, that aims to preventtorturearound the world. This convention was ratified by the Philippines on June 18, 1986, and by the United States on Oct. 21, 1994.
Attorney Rodis did not make any comment when reached by this reporter.
It was not known if the Dacer lawyers will be able to serve summons on Senator Lacson in his Senate office 13 months after emerging from hiding as he tried to dodge the warrant of arrest being served on him for the kidnapping and double murder of Dacer and Dacer’s driver’s, Emmanuel Corbito in 2000.
Both Estrada and Lacson have been implicated in the Dacer- Corbito murders. They denied involvement in the murders.
It was reported that it was Attorney Rodis who assisted a businesswoman in suing Sen. Lacson for US$3-million for allegedly withholding payment for the purchase of the Smith & Wesson handcuffs before a U.S. court several years ago.
Lacson allegedly settled the case out of court. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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