2 NBI deputy directors upset over removal

By Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Mar 14 2014 01:34 PM | Updated as of Mar 14 2014 09:34 PM

MANILA - Former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala have expressed dismay over their removal.

In a press conference on Friday morning, Esmeralda and Lasala stressed that they are both career officials and may not be arbitrarily relieved of their posts without just cause.

"Career officer kami eh. We rose from the rank. I started 1997 as legal officer, then I trained with the NBI academy 1998 and then umakyat ng umakyat rank ko dahil sa accomplishment namin. Hindi naman kami political appointee eh. Dalawa naman ang classification ng presidential appointee. Merong gaya sa amin, presidential appointee kami dahil the authority to appoint is vested with the President, but then career kami," Esmeralda said.

He believes he and Lasala have done their jobs well as deputy directors of the NBI.

"Lahat ng utos ng department, lahat ng trabaho dito ginagawa naman namin. Kung dun naman sa situation ng pag-capture ng top 5 na most wanted personalities dito sa ating bansa, well ginagawa namin. Hindi naman agad-agad na mahuhuli yan," he said.

"I would also like to inform the secretary na yung intelligence service ay 25 lang ahente ko that would operate for the entire country. Hindi isang daan, hindi isang libo ang tao ko diyan. 25 lang and tao ko diyan," he added.

Lasala was also emotional and said he thought his perseverance in his work handling 12 units in the NBI would pay off, but that circumstance turned out to be the opposite.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday said that Esmeralda and Lasala have been replaced by new presidential appointees incoming Deputy Directors Ricardo Pangan Jr. and Antonio Pagatpat.

But according to the two, they only received the department order relieving them of their positions on Thursday morning.

Esmeralda believes the order is "tantamount to dismissal already."

Esmeralda and Lasala said they will elevate their case to the Supreme Court.

"Meron kaming dalawang vacancies sa deputy directors. Walang problema dun sa dalawang apointees ni Presidente dahil retired na yung pinalitan nila. Si Director [Rickson] Chiong at yung item ni [Virgilio] Mendez because he was promoted as NBI director. But then yung sa amin hindi naman vacant eh, andito pa kami nakaupo pa... That's the case that we are going to bring out on our legal team," Esmeralda said.

Meanwhile, they denied that they are the 2 deputy directors involved in the alleged extortion of money from alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles so she could evade arrest.

They said other top ranking officials were involved and they have evidence to prove it such as witnesses and CCTV footage of the supposed meeting between the officials and Napoles.

De Lima on Friday admitted that she recommended the removal of Esmeralda and Lasala to President Benigno Aquino III due to "integrity and trust issues." -- With reports from Ina Reformina and Zyann Ambrosio, ABS-CBN News