NBI chief says no more confidential agents under SOJ Remulla

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2022 02:25 PM

National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) marker in this photo taken on Jan. 14, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) marker in this photo taken on Jan. 14, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday said it no longer had any confidential agent. 

NBI Director Medardo De Lemos made this assurance when he appeared before the House Justice committee to brief lawmakers about the bureau's accomplishments and legislative agenda.

“When the new Secretary of Justice assumed office, he directed us, he ordered the director of the NBI to recall all confidential agents. So as of the moment, technically and legally, we have no confidential agents,” he said.

De Lemos was responding to a question posed by Cavite Fourth District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr.

Confidential agents are not part of the NBI’s organic structure, Barzaga said. 

He expressed concern that there are individuals who could be introducing themselves as NBI confidential agents to local officials and law enforcement agents, using identification cards issued by the agency.

But De Lemos assured him the NBI has taken steps to address this concern.

“We have directed all the confidential agents who were issued IDs before to surrender the same to the NBI,” he said.

Several former or alleged confidential agents have been implicated in some crimes, among them, Jerry Omlang, a former NBI volunteer who admitted involvement in the killing of South Korean Jee Ick-joo in 2017.

This prompted then-Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to direct the NBI to conduct an inventory of its confidential agents.

In 2012, then-Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also ordered the NBI to revoke and recall IDs, appointments and badges issued to confidential agents, consultants and civilian security volunteers.

No names were mentioned in Wednesday’s hearing.

“During my watch, I have never issued a confidential ID to anyone,” De Lemos told the House panel.

Initially designated as NBI officer-in-charge in July, De Lemos was appointed NBI director in August. 

He is the agency’s most senior officer, having served for 37 years.

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