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JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday said that a major revamp will be implemented in the beleaguered National Bureau of Investigation because “the bad rats refused to leave.”

De Lima also said that President Benigno Aquino has finally accepted the resignation of Atty. Nonnatus Rojas as bureau chief.

She stressed that changes in the NBI top posts are inevitable because some of those whom she branded as “deputy directors with questionable integrity” have refused to resign.

“Once we already designate an OIC (officer-in-charge), a major reshuffle will follow – covering some of the deputy directors,” she told reporters in an interview.

De Lima bared deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala met with her last Thursday evening and told her they would not resign from their post.

“They are denying they have anything to do with the leakage or any other accusation. So they defended themselves and explained why they cannot accede to what I asked of them,” De Lima said.

“We cannot compel them to resign, but that cannot deprive us of undertaking a major revamp within the bureau,” she stressed.

But De Lima said both Esmeralda and Lasala also signified willingness to cooperate in a possible investigation.

“We will consider (conducting a probe) but for now the allegations of their involvement in illegal activities are general, so we don’t really know where to begin,” she said.

The tempest at the bureau started when ranking NBI officials were accused of informing alleged pork barrel scam leader Janet Lim-Napoles of her impending arrest for serious illegal detention.

PNoy let’s Rojas go

In a statement, President Aquino said Rojas’ time in the bureau has “taken a serious toll on his health.”

“It is my belief that it would be an unwarranted imposition on the well-being of a model public servant, for Director Rojas, to remain in the NBI. For this reason, I am constrained to accept, with deep regret, his resignation,” the President said.

Aquino said since Rojas’ appointment on July 20, 2012, he has managed to transform the NBI from “an agency reeling from very serious controversies to one that has gained pride of place as the foremost investigative arm of the Department of Justice.”

“This is all the more remarkable because Director Rojas only expected to serve as an Officer-in-Charge when former Director Magtanggol B. Gatdula was dismissed over allegations of kidnapping and extortion attempts by NBI agents. Instead, Director Rojas gave up a career spent as a prosecutor in the Department of Justice in order to stay on as NBI Director,” he said.

“He did not fail us. Director Rojas excelled in his assigned tasks, and was instrumental in restoring the credibility of the NBI,” Aquino added.

Malacañang said it is up to Justice Secretary de Lima to appoint an officer in charge.

“In the meantime the Secretary of Justice will directly supervise the National Bureau of Investigation, including the appointment of an officer in charge to ensure the effective continuation of the NBI’s tasks,” said Aquino.              

With EMontano

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