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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Amid DOJ probe, ex-NBI chief on floating status

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Former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Eric Distor has been placed on floating status as the Department of Justice (DOJ) looks into the legal ramifications of his appointment, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said on Wednesday.

“Distor? Floating, because we have to determine the legality of his being given a co-terminous position vis-a-vis his career [post], kasi he accepted a—position,” Remulla said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

Distor was an assistant director, a permanent post before he was appointed by former President Rodrigo Duterte as NBI officer in charge (OIC) on February 22, 2020.

On March 22 this year, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum creating a senior deputy director (SDD) post, to which Distor was appointed on the same day.

But President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. eventually appointed long-time NBI assistant director Medardo De Lemos as new NBI Director.

In early August, the DOJ said Distor will return to his post as assistant director, not senior deputy director because the latter has been deemed “invalid, ineffective and non-existent” as it is outside the staffing pattern of the agency under RA 10867 or the “National Bureau of Investigation Reorganization and Modernization Act.”

In a letter to Distor dated July 27, the Civil Service Commission said the SDD position was among those deemed vacant with the issuance by Malacañang of Memorandum Circular No. 1 dated June 30, 2022, but that he is entitled to go back to his assistant director post.

Remulla said there was a need to amend the law that created the NBI.

“We really have to amend the law creating the NBI charter. If we don’t amend that, everything becomes, most of it becomes co-terminous,” he said.

“Ang nangyari, under the Revised Administrative Code, the continuing power to reorganize the government is vested in the government. So if he allows it to happen, if he reorganizes the government but if the Charter is not changed, it will just become a politically-charged position that will be coterminous with the appointing power,” Remulla added.

The Justice Secretary, meanwhile, said he had no hand in the reshuffle at the bureau.
 
On Tuesday, De Lemos released a press statement embodying the reorganization of the NBI leadership structure intended to make the bureau “more effective and responsive to the increasing demands of investigative and intelligence functions.”
 
De Lemos designated deputy director Antonio Pagatpat as the new deputy director for administration (ODDA), while assistant director Jose Justo Yap was named OIC of the office of the deputy director for operations (ODDO)
 
He also named four assistant directors/OICs under ODDA and three assistant directors/OICS under ODDO, and reassigned the NBI’s regional directors.
 
“I do not micromanage the NBI. I will just review the reshuffle. I will look for the feedback… I have trust and confidence in Director De Lemos. I trust that he will do a good job and he is doing a good job,” he said.

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