Napoles fallout widens as NBI deputy Arugay resigns, too
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA - (UPDATE 6:28PM) Another top official of the National Bureau of Investigation, deputy director Edmundo Arugay, has resigned, a day after his boss, Director Nonnatus Rojas sent notice he was quitting irrevocably, in the fallout over the surrender of pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles.
Arugay tendered a courtesy resignation, effective on Sept. 14 when he returns from an official mission abroad, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed. She said earlier she may recommend that the President dismiss 3-4 more ranking bureau officials, if they don't tender courtesy resignations, even though she clarified she didn't want them out because of the Napoles case, but because she had "trust issues" with them.
On Monday, after the NBI chief resigned irrevocably, de Lima said she has strongly advised President Benigno Aquino III to reject the resignation of Rojas, who quit out of delicadeza on the heels of news reports that Malacanang Palace kept the NBI out of the loop when Napoles surrendered last week. Supposedly, the President suspected someone within the bureau had tipped off Napoles about her arrest warrant three weeks ago.
Rojas resigned following the publication of a news item on Sunday where President Aquino was quoted to have said that two top NBI executives were tipping off the party of Janet Napoles, who ran fake NGOs that politicians used to funnel money from their pork barrel funds, when an arrest warrant was issued against her.
Since the integrity of the entire organization was put at risk, Rojas deemed it necessary to resign, De Lima said.
"He believes it’s the most honorable thing to do because of the cloud of doubt being cast or may have been cast on the NBI as an institution and on him as the leader of the institution," De Lima said on Monday. "He just feels that as a leader of the institution, that’s the honorable thing to do."
The justice secretary said she told Rojas that the President was not referring to him. She said the President may have been misquoted.
De Lima said it would be better for the deputy directors to tender their resignations, not Rojas. Arugay's resignation came soon after that statement.
May recommend dismissal of 3-4 Deputy Directors
Apparently, however, the deputy directors are viewed differently from Rojas. Also on Tuesday, de Lima said she may recommend to President Aquino III the dismissal from the post of three to four NBI Deputy Directors. However, De Lima did not identify them.
If three to four NBI Deputy Directors will not submit their "courtesy resignation," De Lima said she may approach President Benigno S. Aquino III and ask for their dismissal.
According to De Lima, as far as she knows, the NBI Deputy Directors are not Career Executive Service Officers.
It means, De Lima said, they can be dismissed from their posts by the President, who can then designate their replacements.
However, De Lima clarified she would like three to four Deputy Directors to resign but it was not connected to the pork barrel scam, but rather, she has "trust issue" with them.
De Lima said she has been receiving information that these NBI officials are allegedly involved in illegal activities.
At the same time, De Lima conceded she does not yet have concrete evidence against them.
Once she has talked to resigned NBI Director Nonnatus Caesar R. Rojas, De Lima said, she plans to talk with all the NBI Deputy Directors.
De Lima said the courtesy resignation is aimed to give the appointing authority the opportunity to determine whether they should remain in their post.
She said the appointing authority may reject the courtesy resignations if he considers the parties concerned as deserving to remain in their posts.
De Lima won't dignify Kapunan's criticism
De Lima on Tuesday also refused to dignify the criticism by Atty. Lorna Kapunan that she allegedly leaked information on the arrest warrant issued by the Makati City Regional Trial Court against Janet Lim Napoles.
According to De Lima, it is not far-fetched there are those who would like to "sabotage" the ongoing investigation by the NBI into the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
De Lima asked: do her critics like her to resign from her post?
After destroying the credibility of the NBI, De Lima said, it seems her detractors would like to destroy her credibility also.
Likewise, De Lima said unlike the previous investigations by the NBI, the result of NBI's work on the pork barrel scam will no longer be subjected to the office of President Benigno S. Aquino III for review.
The NBI findings will be directly filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, who in turn will evaluate whether it can be directly subjected to preliminary investigation.
De Lima said she will merely advise President Aquino when the NBI findings will be filed before the Ombudsman.