Atty. Godofredo Manipud’s death: Still justice delayed… and obstructed

ATTY. Godofredo Manipud, “people’s attorney”, was involved in an automobile accident on August 1, 2017 along Burgos Street, corner Rivera, in Dagupan.  He passed away, one week after the accident.

When we, children of Atty. Manipud, returned to the Philippines for his funeral, we became suspicious when the Dagupan Police issued a police report with many questionable and incorrect information.  The investigating officer was also insistent “na aregluhin na lang”.

On the advice of trusted individuals, we were able to obtain an autopsy through the NBI, and based on the report, the NBI assigned an investigator. The case was making progress but for some unknown reason, the investigator was re-assigned to another place.  A new investigator, Mr. Mark Caceres, was assigned and we were initially in constant communication and provided him with a lot of information.  In the middle of the investigation, he directed us to start communicating via his personal e-mail address and not the NBI e-mail address.

Mr. Caceres continually assured us he was working on the case and a meeting with him was even arranged by our two attorneys, attended by Prosecutor Ferdinand Parayno, representatives of the Manipud family, and another NBI staff in attendance.

But after a couple of months, Mr. Caceres stopped responding to our communications. When we called the NBI Dagupan office, he was always indisposed. Late 2018, our lawyer learned that Mr. Caceres preliminarily closed the case in September, but we were not informed. Our lawyer wrote to Mr. Caceres in February 2019 requesting for the result of his investigation, but Mr. Caceres was unresponsive.

On June 27, when our representative went to the NBI office to follow up on our request Mr. Caceres  told our representative that a court order was needed to release the investigation results, citing DOJ Circular No. 048 dated August 4, 1993, item no. 6, and GR No. 133250 dated July 9, 2002.

The family googled the citations and the following were the results:

DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR NO. 048// SUBJECT: OBSERVANCE OF THE DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION AND CONTROL WEEK ON 11-17 NOVEMBER 2018//G.R. No. 133250 //         July 9, 2002// FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner, vs. PUBLIC ESTATES AUTHORITY and AMARI COASTAL BAY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents.

The above did not have any reference or relevance to our father’s case. When our representative returned to see Mr. Caceres on July 2, this time he asked that he be given more time to get the approval from headquarters to release the investigation and added that the investigation is still continuing.  Mr. Caceres’ responses kept changing.

If it is true that a court order is needed for the NBI to release the investigation result to the family, why did the NBI Dagupan release information/document to the other party?

We continue to wait for the outcome of his work.  Did he indeed investigate the case, or just sat on it and let time pass, thinking we will eventually give up and forget about it?  Mr. Caceres’ name and reputation are not the only ones at stake here, but also the NBI Dagupan, among others.  Many Dagupenos and Pangasinenses, both in the Philippines and abroad, are closely watching the updates on the case, particularly those whose names  are linked to the case.

People are smart enough to recognize when something smells “fishy”.  The beauty of it all, MURDER has no prescription period.

Atty. Manipud would have been 81 years old this July 19.

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