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Screw tightens on NBI deputies

Courtesy resignation sought; one submits Malacañang has yet to make a decision on the ‘irrevocable’ resignation filed by National Bureau of Investigation Director Nonnatus Rojas, but instead turned its focus on the bureau’s  deputy directors that has further caused demoralization among its ranks and forced one of the directors to resign. “There’s no update yet... we’ll keep you apprised as soon as we have something at the soonest possible time,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Tuesday. Rojas resigned on Monday amid the ongoing case buildup against Janet Lim-Napoles in connection with the P10 billion pork barrel scam which she allegedly masterminded. 2013_sept4_news3“Any resignation, whether revocable or irrevocable, has to be acted (on). There has to be a response,” Valte said. Malacanang earlier said it was not keen in accepting Rojas’ resignation as he still enjoys President Aquino’s trust and confidence. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also vouched for Rojas’ integrity, as she vowed to make a ‘wholehearted” recommendation to the president ‘not to accept Rojas’ resignation.” But in a surprise move, De Lima asked all six deputy directors of the NBI, all of them career officials, to submit their courtesy resignation to the President. De Lima disclosed that three to four top officials of the bureau have “trust and integrity” issues, although there may or there may not be no evidence against them. De Lima did not identify who the officials she was referring to, but was apparently alluding to the deputy directors of the bureau. The six deputy directors of the bureau are Reynaldo Esmeralda, Intelligence Services; Ruel Lasala, Special Investigation Services; Rickson Chiong, Technical Services; Edmundo Arugay, Administrative Services; Virgilio Mendez, Regional Operation Services and Rafael Ragos, Comptroller. De Lima, however, spared Mendez, saying that she will reject any resignation letter from him. Although Mendez had handled high-profile cases in the bureau, his name has never been linked to any controversy. But her call for the career officials to quit their post triggered an uproar among officials and employees of the bureau. An official of the bureau assailed De Lima in asking  the deputy directors to step down, since they are all ‘career officials.’ “Is she not aware that these officers are career officers who rose from the ranks, and have been with the bureau for the past several years?” said the source. Another source was surprised with the latest statement of De Lima about the questionable integrity of “three to four” deputy directors when she was initially said that President Noynoy Aquino could have been misquoted when he talked about “the rats inside  the NBI,” who tipped Napoles of the agents’ movements. In an interview with MST, Esmeralda refused to comment on the ongoing issue, but insisted that he would not leave his post. “I am a career official who rose from the ranks.  I have been with the bureau for 26 years,” he said. Another deputy director of the bureau who refused to be named said there was no reason for him to resign. “Why would I resign? I have not done anything wrong. Why would I risk my future and that of my family?” he said. Arugay, however, quickly followed De Lima’s directive and tendered his courtesy resignation on Monday. De Lima, however, did not say if the President already acted on the resignation Arugay, who served as chief of operations of the defunct Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group during the previous administration. She, however, said that although the three or four deputy directors have “trust and integrity” issues, they were not the ones referred to by the President who tipped off Napoles. She refused to elaborate, but admitted there is no concrete proof on the allegations. Meanwhile, De Lima said she talked with Rojas to convince him to reconsider his decision to resign from the top NBI post. “I’ll be happy if I would be able to convince him, but I really don’t know what to do next,” she said. De Lima admitted that the developments within the NBI is “affecting” the ongoing NBI probe on the pork barrel scam and has been causing “demoralization” in the agency. Meantime, Rojas was not seen in his office the whole day Tuesday, a day after he tendered his irrevocable resignation out of delicadeza. With Rey E. Requejo and PNA  
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