DOJ to proceed with investigation with Gatdula

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012


THE preliminary investigation on the criminal complaints lodged by Japanese national Noriyo Ohara against Magtanggol Gatdula will now proceed after the Department of Justice (DOJ) junked all 10 motions and petitions seeking to stop the proceedings.

In an omnibus order, the DOJ investigating panel led by State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera directed Gatdula and his fellow respondents to file their respective counter-affidavits and evidence to controvert the allegations in complaint for kidnapping, serious illegal detention, robbery-extortion, grave coercion and falsification.

Navera likewise directed the respondents to file their respective counter-affidavits and their evidence to refute the allegations in the Ohara complaint.

Gatdula, a former director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), was removed from his post over his alleged involvement in the abduction of Ohara, an undocumented Japanese national, by a group of NBI mid-rank officers and civilian agents in Pangasinan last year.

Aside from Gatdula, also named respondents were Mario Garcia, special investigator and former chief of the NBI-Security Management Division (SMD); NBI assets Chona Ellen Esplana and Virgelito Gutierrez; Raul Dimaano, special assistant director for Gatdula; Jose Odelon Cabillan, former executive officer of the NBI-SMD; and, Jay Ducusin, a security volunteer.

Among the pleadings dismissed by the DOJ was Gatdula's petition to suspend the proceedings, on the ground that there is pending certiorari case filed at the Manila regional trial court in which he questioned the creation of a fact-finding panel that investigated the Ohara abduction and recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against him.

The tenor of other motions filed at the DOJ also called for the dismissal or suspension of the preliminary investigation.

In dismissing Gatdula's petition, the DOJ panel said while the civil action remained pending at the RTC, the issues involved in that case are not similar to the issues that are subject of the preliminary investigation.

"The only issue raised in this preliminary investigation is whether or not there is sufficient ground... that crimes alleged by complainant in her affidavit and by her witnesses had been conducted, and the respondents are probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial," the panel stated.

"Whether or not the respondents' constitutional rights were violated by the fact-finding panel will not touch the merits or demerits of complainant Ohara's accusations in her affidavit," it added.

Earlier, Gatdula questioned before the Manila RTC the fact-finding panel’s report, which recommended that he be investigated for Ohara's abduction. At that time, Ohara has yet to file a formal complaint against Gatdula and the other respondents.

While the Manila court ruled in favor of Gatdula that the investigation conducted by the fact-finding probe body was unlawful, the DOJ ruled that the error was cured with the filing of criminal charges by the complainant herself, Ohara. (JCV/Sunnex)

Local news

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