Ex-cop linked to Bubby Dacer slay now heads cybercrime investigation center

Pia Ranada
Cezar Mancao, a former fugitive who surrendered to the Duterte government in 2017, will now lead a body investigating and monitoring cybercrimes

Malacañang confirmed the appointment of Cezar Mancao II, former cop charged with the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver two decades ago, as head of a body in charge of investigating cybercrimes.

In a statement on Wednesday, September 9, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Mancao was named executive director of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center.

This center is under the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) led by Secretary Gregorio Honasan, a retired soldier. Both Honasan and Mancao are graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), with Mancao belonging to the Sinagtala Class of 1986, the so-called power class in the Duterte administration.

His classmates include incumbent Philippine National Police chief Camilo Cascolan, as well as his predecessors Archie Gamboa, Oscar Albayalde, and Ronald dela Rosa. Armed Forces chief of staff General Gilbert Gapay is also a classmate.

As chief of CICC, Mancao will be in charge of formulating a national cybersecurity plan, which lays out measures to prevent and respond to cybercrime activities. The CICC will also monitor cybercrime cases and improve the government’s capacity to crackdown on such crimes.

The CICC is also supposed to coordinate with foreign entities on intelligence, and investigations into cybercrimes.

“We are confident that Mr Mancao’s professional credentials would contribute in cybercrime prevention in the country. We wish him good luck in his new assignment,” said Roque.

Fugitive, accused of murder

Mancao fled twice from the law.

He left the Philippines after he was charged with the murder of Dacer and his driver in November 2000, two months before the ouster of then-president Joseph Estrada. Dacer had served as Estrada’s publicist.

In 2009, under former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Mancao was extradited to testify against Estrada and Panfilo Lacson, who was among his co-accused in the Dacer-Corbito murders.

Mancao’s alleged involvement in the murders happened when he served at the now defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) headed by Lacson, now senator.

In 2013, Mancao escaped from the National Bureau of Investigation, a few days after he was ordered transferred to a Manila city jail.

In 2017, during the Duterte administration, he surrendered to police.

He made a surprising public comeback in 2019 when he ran for MAYPAGASA Party List representative in the midterm elections. He professed support for Duterte but lost his electoral bid. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.