Gatdula insists DOJ should stop Ohara case probe

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 02 2012 01:10 PM | Updated as of Apr 03 2012 07:56 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Magtanggol Gatdula continues to assert his position that the Department of Justice (DOJ) should suspend its formal probe into a complaint for kidnapping and extortion slapped against him and several others by Japanese national Noriyo Ohara.

Gatdula, through counsel Atty. Nancy Ocampo, filed today his reply to Ohara's opposition to his earlier motion for the suspension of the proceedings before a DOJ investigating panel.

The 10-page Reply stressed that the preliminary investigation proceedings before the DOJ is a "fruit of a poisonous tree" having arisen from the allegedly infirm fact-finding probe the DOJ launched into the Ohara case last December, and should defer to a pending civil case Gatdula filed against the department on the matter before a Manila trial court.   

"It is glaringly clear that respondent Gatdula's petition (with the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 8) was filed precisely to stop the Department of Justice from implementing the questioned Department of Justice from implementing the questioned Department Orders (DO) that created the panel of prosecutors," the Reply read.

"[T]he intention of the petition is to prevent the DOJ from continuing its flawed procedure in conducting an investigation akin to a criminal prosecution without due regard to the constitutional rights of [Gatdula]," the Reply read.

Ocampo stressed that the fact-finding probe had no basis since Ohara had not filed any complaint at the time.

The panel of prosecutors, composed of Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera, Hazel Valdez, and Irwin Maraya, has yet to rule on Gatdula's plea.

Ohara charged Gatdula, former NBI Security Management Division (SMD) Chief Mario Garcia, NBI 'assets' Chona Elen Esplana and Virgelito Gutierrez alias 'Labsky,' Gatdula's former special assistant, Raul Dimaano, former NBI-SMD Executive Officer Jose Odellon Cabillan and Gutierrez's driver, Jay Ducusin for her alleged kidnapping last October. She also accused them of extorting P6 million from her.

Ohara filed before the panel her reply to the counter-affidavit of respondent Virgelito Gutierrez alias 'Labsky.' She arrived at the DOJ amid tight security by the department's Internal Security Operations Group (ISOG).

The other respondents reserved their right to file counter-affidavits after Gatdula's motion to suspend is ruled upon, as well as separate motions for inhibition and transfer of proceedings to the Manila Prosecutor's Office.

The next hearing is set on April 13.