DOJ chief orders suspension of NBI to conduct probe on illegal drugs cases

MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday issued a memorandum ordering the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to suspend conducting probe on illegal drugs cases.

The NBI is one of the attached agencies of the DOJ.

“In compliance with the earlier pronouncement of President (Rodrigo) Duterte, I have signed Memorandum Circular No. 005, placing Department Order No. 554, dated August 25, 2016, in a state of indefinite suspension. Consequently, the authority of the NBI to investigate and to conduct case build up of cases falling under Republic Act No. 9165 otherwise know as Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 is held in abeyance until further notice,” Aguirre said in a one-page memorandum.

He said the memorandum circular shall take effect immediately and shall remain in force until revoked.

“The DOJ and the NBI will now focus its energy and resources in waging war against corruption and in waging war against criminality,” Aguirre said.

On Thursday, President Duterte included NBI in his order to bar from drug-related cases.

The move came after some PNP officials and NBI personnel were reportedly involved in into the kidnap-slay of a South Korean businessman.

NBI Director Dante Gierran earlier ordered the immediate relief and reshuffle of four NBI officials from their posts in connection to the kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.

Gierran said the move is due to the allegations and statement of former PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group – Pampanga (AIDG) head Superintendent Rafael Dumlao stating the involvement of some NBI personnel in Jee’s abduction.

The NBI officials who were ordered relieved from their posts were NBI National Capital Region Director Ricardo Diaz; NBI Deputy Director for Investigation for Investigation Service Jose Yap; NBI Task Force Against Illegal Drugs chief Ruel Bolivar; and Head Agent Darwin Lising.

Gierran said that Diaz was ordered to return to his mother unit in Regional Operations Services, while Assistant Regional Director Rommel Vallejo will replace him as the officer-in-charge of the NBI-NCR.

Yap was relieved as Deputy Director for Investigative Services and was reassigned as officer-in-charge of the Information and Communications Technology Division (ICTD)

Atty. Vicente De Guzman will replace Yap as Deputy Director for Investigative Services, while Bolivar was assigned to the Office of the Director.

Meanwhile, Atty. Sixto Burgos will be the Deputy Director for Intelligence, while Atty. Jonathan Galicia will be designated as head of the task force against illegal drugs.

Lising, on the other hand, will be assigned to Bicol.

Diaz expressed confidence his name would be cleared on the kidnap-slay of a South Korean businessman controversy.

“We were temporarily relieved from our positions to give way to the investigation of the NBI-PNP joint team. We welcome the move. We know we will be vindicated and truth will prevail over the lies of Supt. Raphael Dumlao. Aside from being hearsay, it has no factual basis whatsoever. This is just a part of working as public servant,” Diaz said. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/