Sep 052013
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on Thursday revealed that she and President Benigno Aquino III had tried several times to convince National Bureau of Investigation Director Nonnatus Rojas not to give up his post, to no avail.

In an interview with reporters in Manila, De Lima said Rojas seems to have “made up his mind” to resign from the highest post at the NBI not only after two of his men were accused of tipping off pork barrel scam suspect Janet Lim Napoles about her arrest, but also due to health reasons.

“I talked to Dir. Nonni three times and I was unsuccessful in convincing him so sinabi ko na rin kay Presidente iyon na hindi ko na-kumbinse,” De Lima said.

She added: “Kinausap niya [the President] rin once the other day ata [si Rojas]… at hindi na magbabago iyon, irrevocable ang kanyang resignation.”

De Lima said she would await President Aquino’s announcement whether he was accepting or rejecting Rojas’ resignation before looking for his replacement.

She said the one who would be replacing Rojas would come from within the Department of Justice, including the NBI and any of the DOJ’s other attached agencies.

“One thing is clear, it’s not going to be an undersecretary kasi may jurisprudence na yan na hindj puwede mag act concurrently [ang isang undersecretary],” De Lima said.

De Lima also revealed that she might head the NBI while she is looking for an officer in charge to replace Rojas.

“If I am unable to designate an OIC kaagad, I will be forced muna to assume direct supervision in the meantime while looking for an OIC,” she said.

“I will exert best efforts to immediately designate an OIC from within the NBI or DOJ, OIC should not be outside the DOJ family,” she added.

She said the President might make an announcent on the fate of Rojas either Thursday or Friday.

De Lima earlier in the week revealed that “three to four” of Rojas’ six deputies at the NBI have “trust and integrity issues,” even as she urged these officials to resign out of delicadeza.

The six NBI deputy directors are Rickson Chiong (Technical Services), Edmundo Arugay (Administrative Services), Reynaldo Esmeralda (Intelligence Service), Ruel Lasala (Special Investigation Services), Virgilio Mendez (Regional Operation Services), and Rafael Ragos (Comptroller Services).

Following her statement, Arugay tendered his courtesy resignation. On Thursday, De Lima said she expects more deputy directors to resign.

“It [should be] a clean slate. The President will be given a free hand. Mayroon mare-retain diyan, mayroon na di dapat ma-retain, di na mere-retain,” she said.

De Lima she has not forwarded Arugay’s resignation to the President because she is still awaiting if other seputy directors would follow suit in giving up their posts.

De Lima also said that the NBI deputy directers have “one by one” requested to meet with her.

“It’s more to ask guidance because Rojas resigned and there’s no OIC and I think those are urgent concerns from the NBI,” she said.

Napoles is currently detained in Laguna on allegations she illegally detained Benhur Luy, a whistleblower and an employee in her JLN Corp which is said to be behind the illegal diversion of public funds, including pork barrel funds, to non-existent foundations. — BM, GMA News

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