De Lima in pain over sacking of NBI chief | Inquirer News

De Lima in pain over sacking of NBI chief

/ 11:41 PM January 25, 2012

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima admitted to this columnist Wednesday she didn’t “relish” the “painful truth” that came out of the investigation into the kidnapping of a Japanese woman by some agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

In a text message, De Lima said: “Like you, I don’t relish what came out from the fact-finding panel. It’s perhaps the painful truth.”


She was obviously referring to my column on Saturday where, in reaction to a heckler, I said that I was not in the habit of gloating over somebody else’s misfortune, in reference to the sacking of NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula over the incident.

This columnist exposed the detention of Noriyo Ohara, an undocumented alien, by some NBI agents who reportedly demanded P15 million for her release.


When I complimented De Lima on the splendid work of the fact-finding panel, the justice secretary replied: “Thanks for appreciating their work which, needless to say, was quite difficult and even painful for them.”

There is a time in a person’s life when he faces very painful truths, like losing friends or loved ones.

But such is life, and one must move on despite the pain.

* * *

Malacañang has probably heard the public clamor for a civilian, instead of a retired military or police officer, to replace Gatdula as NBI chief.

The justice secretary has designated Region I Prosecutor Nonnatus Caesar Rojas as NBI officer in charge. The position is temporary and he can be replaced anytime.

However, should it become permanent, NBI officials and the rank and file welcome Rojas’ designation.


“As a professional, I wholeheartedly support whoever the President and the Secretary of Justice decide to place as NBI director,” said NBI Deputy Director Rey Esmeralda.

“The bureau will continue to efficiently do its job of enforcing the law whoever is at the helm,” he added.

Esmeralda was one of those reportedly on the shortlist of replacements.

After he was teased that he had apparently missed the boat again, Esmeralda just shrugged it off and said: “I can wait. I have still a long way to go in the bureau.”

* * *

Relatives of an agriculture official are allegedly cornering contracts to build farm-to-market roads and irrigation projects worth in the hundreds of millions.

This information came from my mole at the Department of Agriculture.

Here’s how they do it: The official’s brother or nephew approaches local officials to ask if they need funding for a farm-to-market road or irrigation project. If the answer is yes, the relatives then ask for a 20 percent commission.

What happened to President Noy’s “daang matuwid (straight and narrow path) slogan?

* * *

A Cabinet member is back to his old habit of getting drunk and making a spectacle of himself in public.

He was seen recently in a disco bar having had one too many and smooching a beautiful woman.

Months ago, he was seen at the lobby of a five-star hotel lying on the lap of an actress-singer on a sofa—obviously drunk.

Admittedly, the Cabinet member wasn’t doing something criminal or even immoral.

It’s just that as a high official he should behave in public. It’s no longer about him, it’s about his office.

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TAGS: cabinet member, Department of Agriculture, Graft and Corruption, Leila de Lima, Magtanggol Gatdula, NBI, Philippines
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