3-4 NBI deputy chiefs should go: de Lima
MANILA - Three to four Deputy Directors of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have been repeatedly implicated in "alleged illicit activities," their boss, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said, which is why they should be the ones to go, not NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas.
Speaking to reporters at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday morning, De Lima said she will personally talk to all six NBI deputy directors to ask them to tender their courtesy resignation.
"Itong deputy directors na ito ay napapansin ko palaging mayroong trust or integrity issues surrounding them although puro lang naman mga balita o mga info na wala namang ebidensya, wala namang katunayan...'
"Consistent and mga pangalan na naririnig ko pero walang ebidensya. Three or four deputy directors," she said.
De Lima said she wants to retain Deputy Director for Regional Operation Services Virgilio Mendez, who had signified his willingness to heed her call on Monday for all deputy directors to resign in the wake of Rojas' irrevocable resignation.
"Kung si Mendez, kung mag-ooffer siya na magreresign, hindi ko rin irerecommend na tanggapin. Hindi siya among those [deputy directors implicated in 'illicit activities]," the justice chief said.
Deputy Director for Administrative Services Edmundo Arugay also tendered his courtesy resignation effective Sept. 14, upon his arrival from an official mission abroad.
De Lima said she will forward Arugay's resignation to the Office of the President as well.
Should any of the Deputy Directors insist on staying in their post, the justice chief said she can always exercise "other options" considering that they are non-career officials.
The other Deputy Directors are Rickson Chiong (Technical Services), Reynaldo Esmeralda (Intelligence Services), Ruel Lasala (Special Investigative Services), and Rafael Ragos (Comptroller Services).
"I can also appeal to their delicadeza, courtesy resignation naman... you're just giving the appointing authority (President) leeway, so kung kumbinsido ang appointing authority na wala naman pala itong kasalanan o kaya maayos naman pala ito, wala naman pala itong hindi magandang record, then the appointing authority can always reject the courtesy resignation," De Lima stressed.
PORK BARREL PROBE
Due to the issues hounding the NBI top brass, the justice chief said that its probe into the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam will suffer "slight" delays.
President Aquino, she said, also does not want to let go of Rojas at this critical juncture where the probe has yet to wrap up.
Mr. Aquino spoke to Rojas on Monday, but Rojas has remained non-committal, De Lima said.
Some P10 billion in lawmakers' Priority Devt Assistance Fund (PDAF) have allegedly been siphoned into the pockets of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, government implementing agencies, bogus non-government organizations (NGO), and legislators.
The NBI is poised to recommend the filing of plunder raps against several individuals.
"Mukhang malabo na this week namin ma-i-file because lalo na ngayon na nagkakaproblema kami ngayon na si Dir. Nonni ay nag-offer ng resignation so magkakaroon ng delay," De Lima said.
NEVER SAY DIE
De Lima said she will still try to convince Rojas, a former regional state prosecutor of the DOJ prior to his appointment to the NBI, to remain in his post.
"Ang priority ko ngayon ay kumbinsihin si Dir. Rojas to change his mind, that is my utmost priority as of this moment.
"Never say die," she said.