DOJ explains sacking of 2 NBI deputy chiefs

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 14 2014 12:35 PM | Updated as of Mar 15 2014 04:09 AM

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MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Friday said she recommended the relief of two National Bureau of Investigation deputy directors as part of the "house cleaning" being done in the NBI.

De Lima said that she is morally convinced that derogatory remarks against Deputy Directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala are true, but admitted that she has no concrete evidence against them.

She said that the "totality of their reputation" was one of the bases for her action.

"I remember a few occasions nakausap ko silang dalawa. Sabi nila na parang iniintriga lang sila, sinisiraan lang sila, but I have my own ways to validate the derogatory information," she said.

"I may not have the concrete evidence but I have reason to conclude," she added.

The justice chief did not give details about the information that has reached her against the two.

In a text message after her chance interview, De Lima said the two officials were removed due to "integrity and trust issues."

She earlier said both officials are presidential appointees who serve at the pleasure of the President.

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

Esmeralda and Lasala will elevate their cause to the Supreme Court.

De Lima had previously asked deputy directors of the bureau to tender their courtesy resignation immediately after the resignation of former NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas.

De Lima then said at least 2 deputy directors should step down due to rumors they are linked to questionable activities.