MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III's displeasure with some people in the National Bureau of Investigation is behind the ongoing reorganization in the agency, a Palace spokesperson said Friday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President did not name anyone in particular and only said this sentiment was relative to the arrest of alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
"Nabanggit ni Pangulo yan before. Meron siyang nabanggit na hindi siya... He expressed disappointment, or at least displeasure in a particular issue and that he had his own misgivings about certain personalities," she said.
She said the thrust of the Department of Justice and the President is to make the NBI an institution that "would serve the people well and that will be instruments of justice."
"The continuing reorganizations reflect that particular position of the President," she said.
Pressed for the identities of people in the NBI who displeased the President, she said: "Wala siyang tinukoy. Yung at that time I understand the President gave an interview and he mentioned that relative to the arrest of Janet Napoles, na parang sinasabi po ng Pangulo na baka may nag-tip... Yon po yung remembrance ko of that particular issue."
Valte maintained Cabinet members have recommendatory powers over bureaus covered by their agencies and portfolios.
"As a general rule the secretaries that have administrative supervision of agencies that are attached to their departments have recommendatory powers to the President as to replacement and as to appointment. So hindi po yan malayo, in the same way that si [DOJ] Secretary [Leila] de Lima also recommends persons for the positions of NBI Director, yung sa BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) -- lahat po yan. Basta nasa ilalim po ng departamento niya, usually, the President accords them the opportunity to recommend," she said.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier confirmed she recommended the relief of NBI Deputy Directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala as part of the "house cleaning" being done in the NBI.
She said the two officials were removed due to "integrity and trust issues."
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.
They said they will elevate their cause to the Supreme Court.