Gatdula appears before DOJ on kidnap raps

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Oct 15 2012 02:09 PM | Updated as of Oct 15 2012 10:10 PM

MANILA - Former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Magtanggol Gatdula appeared for the first time before the Department of Justice (DOJ) panel investigating kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges against him in connection with the alleged abduction of undocumented Japanese, Noriyo Ohara, in October of last year.

Assisted by his counsel, Atty. Abraham Espejo, Gatdula personally subscribed to his rejoinder affidavit before Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera and Irwin Maraya.

Gatdula also formally urged the panel to expunge from the records of the case the counter-affidavit of co-respondent Jose Odellon Cabillan, former NBI-Security Management Division Executive Officer. Espejo said Cabillan did not personally subscribe to his counter-affidavit, thus it has no bearing in the case.

Cabillan, in his counter-affidavit, implicated Gatdula in the alleged crime.

Gatdula's camp also filed manifestations of 4 witnesses to prove Ohara was not held against her will by NBI operatives during the instances she went to the NBI headquarters in Manila.

"She was smiling upon entering the former Director's office, she was even accompanied by a Japanese police [officer]... upon leaving, they were smiling. At no point was she held against her will as she later claimed... Ano ito, kidnap me?" Espejo said.

Both the complainant and respondents will be given 20 days to submit their respective memoranda upon receipt of the panel's ruling on Gatdula's motion to expunge Cabillan's counter-affidavit.

Navera bared this was the longest preliminary investigation he handled, spanning more or less 7 months.

"The delay is because of the parties various motions," he pointed out.

Aside from Gatdula and Cabillan, 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, and Gutierrez's driver, Jay were charged in the complaint.

Ohara accused respondents of abducting her and extorting some P6 million from her.