Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, author of the NBI Modernization law, said the National Bureau of Investigation is “squandering a precious opportunity” to become an “effective, modern, and competent investigative body” as envisioned in the law he sponsored modernizing the agency.
The involvement of ranking NBI officials in the kidnap-slay of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo last October “has the effect of reversing the direction that we want a modern NBI to achieve,” Pimentel said.
“I am deeply disappointed that the agency is squandering a precious opportunity it has been given to enhance its capability,” Pimentel said.
“This is a serious setback. The NBI has to do some housecleaning to regain public trust,” he said.
Pimentel was the principal sponsor of the Senate Bill that was enacted by Congress and signed into law in June last year as Republic Act No. 10867, or the “National Bureau of Investigation Reorganization and Modernization Act.”
Aside from modernizing its forensic capability and scientific laboratories, the law allows the NBI to hire additional agents and support their training that will boost its criminal investigation and evidence-gathering work.
Pimentel said it was not enough that NBI Director Dante Gierran reassigned six top agency officials suspected of involvement in the Jee incident that forced Malacanang to make an apology to the Seoul government.
“New technology and improved methods of investigation and crime-detection will not work if the human component is defective,” Pimentel said. “The NBI has to retrain personnel and weed out the misfits.”
Gierran should take a “firmer stand in imposing discipline on NBI personnel and avoid another embarrassment to the government.”
The law allows the NBI to retain and use 30 percent of its collections from clearance fees every year for its modernization and to augment its operational expenses. Its annual appropriation is pegged at P150 million.