Court defers ruling on plea to extend TRO on Gatdula probe | Inquirer News
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Court defers ruling on plea to extend TRO on Gatdula probe

By: - Reporter / @jgamilINQ
/ 03:51 PM January 30, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—A Manila court on Monday deferred its ruling on the petition of dismissed National Bureau of Investigation director Magtanggol Gatdula to extend the court’s 72-hour temporary restraining order against the preliminary investigation into his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of an undocumented Japanese woman three months ago.

Judge Felixberto Olalia Jr. of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 8 presided over the hearing of Gatdula’s appeal seeking an extension of the TRO on the investigation recommended by a fact-finding panel of the Department of Justice to shed light on the Noriyo Ohara controversy.

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In Monday’s hour-long hearing, Gatdula took to the witness stand to establish the necessity and urgency for the TRO.

His lawyer, Abraham Espejo, said Gatdula was in danger of “being prosecuted for a non-bailable offense” based on what he claimed was an “illegal investigation” and a “railroading” conducted by the DOJ fact-finding panel.

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Espejo found it “unusual” that the fact-finding panel could come up with a 176-page report within a four-week period.

He also decried the panel’s alleged violations of Gatdula’s right to due process, right against self-incrimination, right to counsel and right to silence when they invited him as a “resource person” in their investigation, only to use his statements to incriminate him in their report.

“What is at stake here is the petitioner’s constitutional rights,” Espejo said.

Olalia gave four days for Gatdula and for the Office of the Solicitor General, representing respondents Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and members of the fact-finding panel, to submit their respective memoranda on the TRO petition. He also gave the OSG 15 days to file a comment on Gatdula’s petition for a preliminary injunction on the same DOJ recommendations against him.

President Aquino over a week ago ordered Gatdula’s relief based on findings submitted to his office by the DOJ fact-finding panel –headed by undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, assistant secretary Zabedin Asis and city prosecutor Donald Lee–which linked Gatdula to the alleged kidnapping.

De Lima last Wednesday designated the chief prosecutor of the Ilocos Region, Nonnatus Caesar Rojas, as concurrent officer in charge of the NBI.

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TAGS: Crime, extortion, government and politics, Immigration, investigation, Kidnapping, law and justice, News, temporary restraining order
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