AXED deputy directors Ruel Lasala and Reynaldo Esmeralda of the National Bureau of Investigation on Friday questioned the department order issued by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima designating their replacements without citing reasons of their unexpected exit.
In a hastily called press conference, the two officials said they interpreted the memorandum as dismissal since it was not clear if they would be on a floating status or are being transferred to other posts.
Esmeralda, however, said they will file maybe a certiorari before the Supreme Court questioning their abrupt dismissal without cause since they are career government officials with security of tenure, as accorded by the Constitution.
The two said they are disappointed since they have served with loyalty the agency for several decades with remarkable achievements.
“We don’t intend to return to our posts, we just want the SC to come out with a ruling for the guidance of career officials,” Esmeralda said.
He added that it is unlikely that they would be placed on a floating status since the NBI directorial staff is composed only of six deputies.
On Thursday, the two were caught with pants down when de Lima announced their replacements.
Yesterday, they saw de Lima’s memorandum for the first time and were aghast that they were being replaced without any reason or without any clear instruction as to what posts they would assume.
Lasala is retiring this May, as he would complete his 30 years in service. Esmeralda has 27 years in NBI, starting his investigative task in 1987.
In an interview yesterday before the press conference called by the NBI officials, de Lima said that the main reasons why the two were sacked is because of “integrity issues.”
Esmeralda and Lasala dismissed the “integrity issues,” saying they have explained it with De Lima in an audience a long time ago.
Emeralda said he will just wait for the formal turnover to the new deputy director for Intelligence Service Ricardo Pangan Jr. and will assume a private life.
Antonio Pagatpat replaces Lasala, who said that he was assured by the Government Service Insurance System that he would be given especial consideration.
There are several issues being thrown at Esmeralda and Lasala. The first implicates them to have received millions from the Philippine Charity Sweeptakes Office.
Esmeralda said he had just appeared as witness for the prosecution before the Sandiganbayan on Wednesday and he made it clear that they had not received anything from PCSO intelligence fund. Lasala appeared at Sandiganbayan on March 4.
The second is the alleged meeting with pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, which Esmeralda said has long been settled as he denied having met Napoles. He said he had conducted his own investigation and identified the officials who met Napoles.
Esmeralda said two top NBI officials, one had retired already and another still active with a rank of deputy director, had actually met Napoles both inside NBI premises, in a five-star hotel, and in a classy restaurant.
The two said the meetings were held before the illegal detention case was dismissed by the Justice department that was eventually overturned.
He said Napoles, who is presently in government custody, could settle the issue. “They can ask Napoles since she is now under the government custody.”
Esmeralda added that the two officials confirmed that they had met Napoles in one directorial staff meeting.