Ex-NBI chief has 2 witnesses to back claim of death threats
The beleaguered former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Magtanggol Gatdula has produced two witnesses to support his claim about alleged threats to his life.
The witnesses, who were presented at the first hearing of Gatdula’s petition for a writ of amparo on Thursday, claimed that armed goons have been looking for Gatdula.
The two witnesses, Jim Bryan Malabuyoc, 31, and Michael Lim, 27, are members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), the Christian sect to which Gatdula and his lawyer, Abraham Espejo, also belong.
Gatdula was ordered dismissed by President Benigno Aquino III last January after a Department of Justice fact-finding panel implicated him in the kidnapping and illegal detention of Japanese Noriyo Ohara by NBI agents in October 2011.
Gatdula has protested his sacking and went to court to stop the DOJ from prosecuting him using the findings of the fact-finding panel. While the petition was being heard, Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 8 Judge Felixberto Olalia Jr. granted a temporary restraining order last January.
Last Monday, Gatdula filed another petition for a writ of amparo with the Manila RTC Branch 26 to restrain Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, NBI officer in charge Nonnatus Rojas and NBI deputy director for technical services Reynaldo Esmeralda, from threatening his life and liberty.
Gatdula claimed that De Lima and the NBI were aiming to hold him responsible for the ambush on Esmeralda last February 21. Esmeralda, who survived the ambush, said it may have been related to the Ohara case.
At Thursday’s hearing, Malabuyoc and Lim testified that in separate instances after the Esmeralda ambush, they were approached by armed men asking about Gatdula.
Malabuyoc said two unidentified men with guns in their holsters approached him as he was leaving his Quezon City home.
Lim said he was approached by three men in a red car, as he was standing outside the INC-run New Era University.
The men allegedly identified themselves as NBI agents, and said they were looking for Gatdula because he was a wanted suspect, Lim said. Jaymee T. Gamil and Jerome Aning
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.