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DOJ: Dismissed NBI director given 'due process'

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) maintained on Tuesday that the agency has provided "due process" to dismissed National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Magtanggol Gatdula.

The NBI, which is the country's premier investigating body, is an attached agency of the DOJ.

According to DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, the chair of the DOJ panel which investigated the complaint against the NBI officials, an in-depth investigation was conducted by the body before Gatdula and the other NBI officials were recommended to be charged with criminal and administrative cases.

Baraan stressed that Gatdula was also given the opportunity to appear before the panel and defend himself against the accusations hurled against him.

The DOJ official also pointed out that it is the prerogative of President Benigno S. Aquino III to dismiss Gatdula from his post as he is a "presidential appointee."

However, Baraan said they did not recommend the dismissal of Gatdula as NBI head.

Among those recommended by the DOJ panel to be charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention were Gatdula, former NBI Security Management Division chief Mario Garcia, Garcia's assets, namely: Chona Elen Esplana and Virgelito Gutierrez; Gatdula's Special Assistant Raul Dimaano, Special Investigator Jose Odelon Cabillan, and 11 security volunteers.

However, Gatdula was not recommended to be placed under preliminary investigation after DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima ordered the DOJ panel to review the exact criminal liability of the dismissed NBI chief in order to determine whether or not he had a direct knowledge or merely an accessory.

Likewise, De Lima also submitted to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales the recommendation of the panel to file administrative charges against the NBI officials, including Garcia, Gatdula and Cabillan, who were all recommended to be charged with grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

It can be recalled that some NBI officials were implicated in the alleged P6-million kidnapping and extortion of a Japanese national identified as Noriyo Ohara in October last year.

By PNA




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