National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Nonnatus Rojas resigned because he couldn’t stand Justice Secretary Leila de Lima anymore, an official of the bureau said.
The source, a high ranking official who is very close to Rojas, said the NBI chief left because he could no longer “stomach” de Lima’s orders.
The official, who asked not to be identified, told The Manila Times that de Lima was always meddling in NBI affairs.
“Leila tried to convince Nonnie to stay, but he grabbed the opportunity to get out of the agency,” the source said.
The official explained that because de Lima was always interfering, the NBI was forced to file ill-prepared cases. He cited as examples the Atimonan shooting, the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman in Balintang Channel, and the case involving Janet Lim-Napoles who was accused of illegally detaining Benhur Luy.
The official said Rojas could not contradict the decisions of de Lima, and in the end the NBI was forced to file cases before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In the case of the Atimonan shootout, Rojas was forced to file murder charges against military and police officials after the Justice chief had announced on national television that the incident was a “rubout” not a “shootout.”
“During the re-enactment sa Atimonan, de Lima was like a film director, directing the re-enactment, which is supposed to be the duty of the NBI director,” another high-ranking official said.
Preempted by de Lima’s statements, DOJ prosecutors rushed the filing of murder charges.
“Even in the Balintang channel incident, de Lima was always on top of Rojas when according to NPS (National Prosecution Service) rules on appeal the case had still had to be submitted to her,” he said.
In the case of Napoles, the complaint for serious illegal detention filed by Luy was dismissed by Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, the official said. But de Lima strong-armed Rojas into filing a motion for reconsideration even if the case was weak.
Navera was still inclined to dismiss Luy’s appeal but de Lima sought a review resolution from the NPS to set aside the findings of Navera.
In the end, the Justice chief is said to have forced Prosecutor General Claro Arellano into disregarding Navera’s findings and to tap Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva so that a case could be filed before the Makati regional trial court.
“Nonnie grabbed the opportunity to leave the NBI because he couldn’t stand de Lima anymore. This is the time for his graceful exit. He didn’t want to be de Lima’s puppet,” the source said.