New NBI director named

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

MANILA (Updated)-- President President Benigno Aquino III named Deputy Director for Regional Operations Services Virgilio Mendez as the new head of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Mendez, who has been with the NBI for 36 years, took his oath before Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday, which was witnessed by other ranking officials of the bureau such as Assistant Director Medardo de Lemos.

De Lemos served as officer-in-charge following the resignation of then director Nonnatus Rojas due to health reasons last year.

However, reports said Rojas quit from his post after Aquino took a swipe at unidentified NBI officials who supposedly helped alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles from escaping arrest over a serious illegal detention case.

Napoles surrendered to the President in late August last year.

Mendez, 61, is the first insider to take the top leadership post in the last 13 years.

"It is, perhaps, time to, once again, hail somebody from the NBI ranks. Besides the obvious experience that an insider will bring to the NBI leadership, it will also serve as a considerable morale booster for those serving in the NBI," said de Lima, who rejected Mendez's courtesy resignation when she suspected that some deputy directors are involved in criminal activities.

He was supposed to enter priesthood.

Instead, he became husband to Vilma Garcia of Pagadian City and they raised three children, two of whom are nurses in the United States.

"The clergy's loss later became the NBI's gain," Mendez's profile read.

After graduating from the NBI Academy in 1978, Mendez was assigned to Region 9 in Zamboanga City. He spent almost three decades of his career crisscrossing Mindanao, capped by his appointment as regional director of Northern Mindanao in 2004.

He then served as deputy director for comptroller services from 2007 to 2009, deputy director for administrative services from 2009 to 2011 and deputy director for regional operations services from 2011 until his appointment as NBI director.

Among others, Mendez headed the investigation into high-profile cases including the murder of Kristelle "Kae" Devantes, Cagayan De Oro bombing in July 2013, entrapment of deputy prosecutor of Zamboanga City, Balintang Channel shooting incident, Atimonan rubout, the standoff between Malaysian authorities and followers of the late Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, the Aman Futures and Coco Rasuman investment scams, Rizal Day LRT bombing in 2000 and the alleged rice smuggling activities of a certain David Tan.

Aquino signed Mendez's appointment papers on January 10. De Lima received the transmittal letter from Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. on Wednesday. ‪

"This is not an easy job but I will give everything that I have," Mendez said. (Sunnex)

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