Monday, January 16, 2012

News Update DOJ: Stopping an investigation into alleged extortion by NBI officials pointless

Stopping an investigation on allegations of extortion against National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officials by a Japanese national is pointless because the investigation has been done, the Department of Justice said Friday. Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III said in a press conference this was his argument in a comment the DOJ panel filed before a Manila court. The court is currently hearing the petition for a temporary restraining order filed by dismissed NBI security management division chief Mario Garcia, who was among the NBI officials implicated in the alleged abduction and extortion incident. "We informed the court that the investigation report was already done... and that a TRO was already moot and academic," Baraan said. The supposed victim Noriyo Ohara, a Japanese woman who arrived in the Philippines in 2009 and assumed a Filipino identity, was reportedly "arrested" by NBI agents last Oct. 29. The NBI agents allegedly demanded P15 million from the foster family that took care of the 33-year-old Ohara during her stay in the Philippines, in exchange for her freedom. Baraan told reporters he did not know why Garcia wanted to stop the investigation when the NBI official himself volunteered to appear in the preliminary investigation. The Justice Department panel already submitted a copy of their report to President Benigno Aquino III, who will make a decision on the matter. "It's all in the hands of the President. We gave a copy of the report to the court... We got a direct order from the President to conduct investigation into the matter," Baraan said. The Justice official was mum on the panel's findings, but hinted that no recommendation have so far been made on suspending any of the NBI officials involved. But "some people" will be facing administrative and criminal charges, Baraan noted. The victim is under the custody of the Witness Protection Program. — VS,