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With the whole worlds eyes on the Philippines just before U.S. A. President Barack Obama's visit on April 28, 2014, the Philippines Department of Justice is in turmoil, corruption scandals plague the Halls of Justice.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is facing an online petition seeking her removal for dismissing two officials of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) without any cause or case filed against them but only on mere “suspicion.” And appointed new NBI deputy directors – Ricardo Pangan Jr., Antonio Pagatpat, Edward Villarta and Jose Doloiras.
Two (2) of these new appointments are to fill the vacancies created by the promotion of then Deputy Director VIRGILIO L. MENDEZ to the Bureau's top post last January 2014, and by the retirement of Deputy Director RICKSON L. CHIONG last November 2013. The other two (2) have been named to replace incumbent Deputy Directors.
The petition also noted her refusal to comment on reports about her former husband’s alleged pork barrel dealings with alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Stop Corruption Philippines (SCP) believes that De Lima is morally liable or should be held accountable because she allowed her former husband, lawyer Plaridel Bohol, to meet with Napoles.
“This is the first time that it happened in the Philippines, career officers were dismissed without any case filed against them but by mere ‘suspicion.’ The Justice Secretary admitted that she has no solid evidence against the two dismissed officials but she is morally convinced that they must be dismissed,” wrote SCP that created the petition online.
De Lima has even said she already knew the story about Bohol’s supposed link to Napoles “because I became curious earlier.”
“But I don’t want to be saying things now that might preempt the investigation of the ad hoc committee,” the Justice chief said, referring to the three-man ad hoc committee composed of high-ranking NBI officials currently looking into the revelation of sacked NBI deputy director for intelligence Reynaldo Esmeralda that then NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas and current NBI Deputy Director for Regional Services Rafael Ragos had meetings with Napoles.
Esmeralda and Lasala protested the appointment of four new NBI deputy directors – Ricardo Pangan Jr., Antonio Pagatpat, Edward Villarta and Jose Doloiras – which effectively dismissed them from their posts.
They claimed that two other ranking NBI officials close to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima were the ones involved and they have evidence to prove it, including witnesses and CCTV footage of a meeting between the officials and Napoles.
“The people are morally convinced that De Lima must resign. If not, PNoy (President Aquino’s monicker) must fire her for moral reason,”
It added that this “is an acid test to the government’s ‘tuwid na daan’ (straight path).”