De Lima blasts ex-NBI deputy chiefs

Posted at 03/27/14 2:50 PM

MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila De Lima is dismayed at the actions of sacked National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala linking people "perceived to be close" to her to alleged "pork barrel" scam architect Janet Lim Napoles.

De Lima's ex-husband, Atty. Plaridel Bohol, has been named by Esmeralda as among those who "accompanied" Napoles in meeting two ranking NBI officials in 2013: then NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas and current NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operations Services Rafael Ragos.

The meetings supposedly took place while the Department of Justice (DOJ) was still hearing Benhur Luy's serious illegal detention complaint against Napoles.

Esmeralda and Lasala appeared before the NBI ad hoc commitee investigating the alleged Napoles meetings, on Wednesday.

Both insisted they do not know Napoles, dousing earlier rumors they tipped her of her impending arrest for the serious illegal detention charge.

While the justice chief refused to "preempt" the findings of the committee, she said she was saddened by Esmeralda and Lasala's actions.

She also stressed that Esmeralda and Lasala were fired because of their "overall reputation," and not merely for having been suspected as Napoles' moles.

De Lima said she should have asked Esmeralda and Lasala to step down from their posts even before the "pork barrel scam" broke so they would not use the Napoles issue as justification for their sacking.