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NBI chief firm on resignation

NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Despite attempts to dissuade him, even by President Benigno Aquino III himself, National Bureau of Investigation Director Nonnatus Rojas has stood firm in his decision to resign, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Thursday.

De Lima said Malacañang is expected to announce Friday, at the latest, whether the President will accept Rojas’ resignation.

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If Mr. Aquino accepts Rojas’ resignation, De Lima said she would designate an officer in charge to head the NBI.

And if she is unable to do so, she said she will assume “direct supervision” for the time being, given the “urgent concerns” at the NBI, which is in the midst of investigating the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

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De Lima said she had spoken to Rojas three times to convince him not to resign.

“Unfortunately, he made up his mind already not only because of the incident but he also told me he was very tired, and I think he has health issues,” she said.

Rojas submitted his irrevocable resignation last Monday out of “delicadeza,” reportedly in reaction to Mr. Aquino’s remark that there were “less trustworthy” officials at the NBI.

Mr. Aquino also said that charges were being prepared by the Department of Justice against two NBI officials who had tipped off alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles on the arrest warrants to be issued against her.

Following Rojas’ resignation, De Lima called on five of the six NBI deputy directors to resign, as well, so as to give the President a free hand to appoint a new team.

She did not ask for NBI Deputy Director Virgilio Mendez to resign but three or four other deputy directors were asked to quit because of “trust and integrity issues.”

So far, only Edmundo Arugay, who is the NBI deputy director for administrative service, has tendered a courtesy resignation, which will be effective on Sept. 14 when he returns from an official mission abroad.

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Last night, De Lima said two deputy directors—Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala— told her they won’t heed her call to resign. She met the two officials yesterday and when they emerged from the secretary’s office, they declined to comment. Both officials had denied they were the ones who leaked the information that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Napoles and her brother.

De Lima said she has not yet turned in Arugay’s resignation letter to the President.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Leila de Lima, National Bureau of Investigation, Nonnatus Rojas, P10-billion pork barrel scam, President Aquino
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