Case vs Gatdula airtightBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has an airtight case against its former director, Magtanggol Gatdula, for the ambush of NBI Deputy Director for Technical Services Rey Esmeralda.
Gatdula has been pinpointed by another suspect as the mastermind behind Esmeralda’s ambush, along with businessman Tyrone Ong.
Ong, an adopted member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1976, owes Gatdula a debt of gratitude big-time.
Ong’s company, Strategic and Comprehensive Consultants Inc., in a joint venture with Realtime Data Management Services Inc., an IT provider, was hired by Gatdula for the NBI’s clearance issuance service.
Gatdula is a member of PMA Class ’76, in the same class as former national police chief Jesus Verzosa.
(Tyrone Ong was the same guy who claimed he owned the big amount of euros found inside the luggage of Cynthia Verzosa, wife of the then PNP chief, at the Moscow airport in 2008.
Ong said he asked Cynthia Verzosa and company to buy him expensive watches in Europe; a very flimsy excuse.)
The most damaging testimony comes from Ong’s former bodyguard, retired policeman Perfecto Villanueva, who said Ong kept pressuring him to look for hired assassins whenever Gatdula reminded Ong about the plot.
Teodoro Abendano, the alleged gunman, also provided very damaging testimony.
Abendano sold the M-16 automatic rifle he allegedly used in the ambush when he was not given the P1-million payment for a hit on Esmeralda.
Abendano told me in an interview two weeks ago at the NBI headquarters that he only received P1,000 for the hit job that failed.
Abendano was very cooperative with his NBI captors—spilling everything he knew about the hit job—after the ambush gun was traced to him.
It is to the NBI’s credit that Esmeralda’s ambush, a very difficult case, was solved fast.
The NBI cracked the case open through the ambush gun.
The solution of the Esmeralda ambush has salvaged the reputation of the NBI as a highly efficient crime-busting agency.
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Gatdula, according to NBI investigators, had the motive to have Esmeralda rubbed out.
He suspected the NBI’s deputy chief of providing information to this writer on the kidnapping of Noriyo Ohara, a Japanese woman, by some NBI agents.
In fact, it was the other way around: It was this writer who informed Esmeralda—who was clueless up until then— about Ohara’s illegal detention at the NBI headquarters.
By informing Esmeralda, I wanted to get more details about the kidnapping.
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Surprisingly, the frustrated murder case against Gatdula for Esmeralda’s ambush has been filed ahead of the Ohara kidnapping case for which the former NBI chief was dismissed.
A three-man probe panel headed by Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III found Gatdula and some of his subordinates liable for the kidnapping of the Japanese.
The probe panel submitted its findings to Prosecutor General Claro Arellano who, in turn, formed another panel to conduct the preliminary investigation preparatory to filing the case in court.
Up to now, the public has yet to hear from the latest panel on the progress of the Ohara kidnapping case.
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- My fearless forecasts
- Jojo Binay’s juvenile tantrum
- Our twisted system of justice