NBI to probe media leaks in Atimonan case


MANILA, Philippines—The National Bureau of Investigation will investigate the leak to the press of its report on the police killing of 13 alleged criminals in Atimonan, Quezon, on Jan. 6.

NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas said Thursday the leak embarrassed the bureau, as President Aquino had given strict orders to keep the results of the investigation confidential.

Rojas did not say whether heads would roll but Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who submitted the report to Malacañang Thursday, said the source of the leak faced penalties ranging from suspension to dismissal for insubordination and misconduct.

“Suspension can be one day, one week, one month, six months, one year or two years and the maximum penalty is, of course, dismissal,” De Lima told reporters.

She said that while the government recognized the right of the press to access to information, as well as the reporters’ right to access to sources, she was leaving it to the NBI to decide whether to summon journalists who reported information leaked from the investigative report.

Were leaks correct?

Asked whether the leaks were faithful to the report, De Lima said “certain portions” that were published tended to show someone leaked the report.

“But I’m not confirming that’s contained in the report,” she said.

De Lima reiterated an earlier statement that the leak could be aimed at undermining her and Rojas’ leadership.

It was just an “impression,” she said, but added: “What does that mean, they want to embarrass the leadership of the NBI? Or they just want to give information despite repeated instructions from superiors [not to prematurely disclose the report’s contents]?”

“We will do our investigation and the negligence of our people and we will address this concern as we go on,” Rojas said.

The scope of the investigation has yet to be determined, he said.

Rojas said several units of the NBI were involved in the investigation and in the preparation of the report.

Actual pages from report

Measures were laid down to ensure confidentiality, including a ban on cell phones in closed-door discussions, De Lima said.

Still, images shown on television on Wednesday and Thursday indicated a leak of actual pages from the report.

“This is something very unfortunate. I am sad and really angry about how things have developed,” Rojas said.

“Despite our efforts to keep this probe [confidential], a leak still occurred and the media got some info,” he said.

“It is sad, it puts the NBI in an embarrassing situation,” he added.

A source in the bureau told the Inquirer that drafts of the report were shredded and moving copies of the report even inside the NBI complex was done under escort.

What leak?

But an agent involved in the investigation questioned the investigation of a supposed leak.

“We could not understand what kind of leak they are talking about. It was an open investigation, all the people involved and their names were already known even before the NBI started its investigation,” the agent said.

All the agents involved in the investigation and in the preparation of the report are demoralized, the source said.

“It’s demoralizing because after working so hard this past month, and now instead of focusing our energy on other cases or the next phase of the investigation, which is the filing [of charges] and preliminary hearing, we have to face a probe that will also sap our time and energy,” the agent said.

But Virgilio Mendes, NBI deputy director for regional services and head of the Atimonan investigation, said the investigative group would respect De Lima’s order.

Rojas made it clear that there was no news blackout on the Atimonan investigation.

“It’s just that we did not want to disclose the results prematurely,” Rojas said.

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  • bogli_anakdami


    always start with a “probe”… flip gung gongs are on the right track…

    yun lang…

  • kontra_boohaya

    What else is new from the usual “probe, sack, relieve” pero wala rin nangyayari lalo na kung kakampi ka.  Kung kalabang pulitika ka naman ay heheehe baka puro farmers na nagtatanim at fishermen na nangangalap ng ebidensiya.   But such is the life…weder weder lang.

  • farmerpo

    Bottom line is somebody stole De Lima’s thunder… internal politics at its best.

  • elgeepee

    wala rin mangyari dyan.  puro satsat lang. tingnan mo nangyari noon nagbarilan sa loob mismo opisina nila. anong klaseng nbi yan. magulo kasi marami wala disiplina dyan.

  • Bengatibo

    Walang katapusang probe, Hindi pa nga nasubmit iyong investigation report, probe nanaman. Palitan si De Lima!!! Siya ang nagpapagulo nang isyu. Puro media mileage ang inaatupag! Dakdak lang nang dakdak para hindi halatang walang ginagawa ang DOJ

  • Rovingmoron

    Why not finish first the filing of criminal charges against the suspects in the Atimonan incident that killed 13 people? Set aside first the media leak probe, it can follow later when everything was put into proper order. Otherwise, the NBI agents conducting the probe will be demoralized as they were quoted in the reports. Give priority first to an important issue rather than being mixed up. I’m afraid this will lead to the diversion of the issue at hand.

  • Guest

    Okay na rin yung may leak. At least kahit paano, malalaman natin kung na-water down ba ang na leak na report from the final version submitted by Leila de Lima to PNoy. Same leak happened to PNP-CIDG’s preliminary report which reached the desk of PNP Chief Allan Purisima. Mabuti na lang kamo na-leak na, kaya napilitan din si Purisima to say that the revision he asked was only in the format and not so much in the content. PNP or NBI, the good people on the ground are afraid their higher-ups might whitewash the originally submitted reports. 

    On the other hand, nakakatakot din ang may leaks. Kaya mag antibiotics na kayo Purisima at De Lima kung ayaw niyong lumala pa ang tulo niyo.

  • batangpaslit

    i find this item extremely hilarious
    NBI Director was quoted, if indeed he was quoted right and this news report is true that he does not want the premature disclosure of the results of their investigations.
    eh, sa simula pa lang nagsalita na si Pres NoNoy, and confirmed by Sec Dilemma that the killing of the economic saboteur and his Police Colonel close-in bodyguard together with his policemen and soldiers was not a shootout; but, an ambush.
    The NBI Report merely put into writing the pronounced verdict of the President and his Justice Secretary.

  • Dawn Dare

    The country has a right to know. Finding media leaks is an exercise in futility. What we need is a Freedom of Information Act so we can have the ground rules. Otherwise, the DOJ is just witch-hunting. These guys were irked because they were pre-empted. Please stop this child’s play.

  • JasonBieber

    Everything with this incident was terrible. It was a jumbled operation to start with and the execution was just as bad. Not a shoot-out but an ambush.

    Greed and corruption was at the center of the Atimonan 13 incident. No matter what PNoy says corruption is still bad during his Presidency.

  • chris

    Di na kailangan yang probe on source of the leak. If the leak is consistent with the submitted report to Pinoy, ano ang kaso?  If not, e di ang napahiya lang ay ang source at next time di na sia pagtitiwalaan ng media.  Doon na lang kayo mag-focus sa Atimonan investigation at pagsampa ng kaso sa mga salarin  Mainam nga yang may advance info ang taumbayan para hindi na ma-whitewash ni Pinoy ang resulta sakaling may pananagutan si Ochoa at mga tauhan nia.  

    Bakit pa pinag-iinitan ni Pinoy at de Lima ang source ng leak? Dahil na preempt sila?  Yun lang? Walang kabagay-bagay!  Di na importante yan waste of  people’s money lang yang probe on source of leak.  Doon na lang tau mag-focus sa next move para mabigyan ng justice ang mga biktima at mga projects na makatulong sa taumbayan. 

  • jHdz

    what a waste of time and money…  the report has been meant to be disclosed to public because the public has the right to know for the public pays your salaries.  ergo, stop this mumbo jumbo drama of leakages and investigation.  

  • edvival

    Why do you need to investigate the source of the leak? Even if you call the reporters who wrote about the contents of the report, you cannot compel them to reveal the sources. Kahit kasuhan nyo lahat ng reporters! If there is one thing this episode has brought to light, it merely confirms that both the official report and the leaked one are identical. Otherwise, bakit manggagalaiti si De Lima? Besides, kung magkakaroon ng kaso, lahat ng dokumento related sa imbestigasyon ay malalantad sa hukuman at as publiko. Both the prosecution and the respondent cannot suppress these documents. Kahit yun sinasabi ng PNP na classified documents katulad ng Coplan Armado ay mabubulgar sa korte.

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