TWO officials of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Central Visayas formally assumed their new positions yesterday.

Lawyer Edward Villarta, the former NBI National Capital Region (NCR) director, was installed as the new NBI 7 director. He switched positions with Medardo de Lemos, who will now head the NCR office.

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NBI 7 Executive Director Ernesto Macabare was also assigned to his new position as NBI-Samar District Office’s agent-in-charge. NBI-Caraga Director Lauro Reyes took over Macabare’s post.

NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula led yesterday’s turnover of command in the NBI 7 office.

In his speech, Gatdula challenged the bureau’s operatives to regain the “long-lost glory of the NBI” and to make it “comparable to the best investigation units in the world.”

In an interview, Gatdula said among the programs he intends to pursue is the faster release of NBI clearances and improvements in the bureau’s buildings.

De Lemos said the NBI 7 gave its best to the Cebuano community despite its limitations. He thanked local government units for their support in the past seven

years of his stint.

“Cebu is a very difficult place to leave,” said de Lemos.

In his acceptance speech, Villarta, 58, called on NBI agents to keep their bureau “intact and unblemished.”

The new NBI 7 director said he considers his new assignment a “dream fulfilled” and appealed to his fellow workers in the bureau to make their unit “a symbol of truth and justice.”

De Lemos and Villarate also paid a courtesy call on Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia yesterday.

They were accompanied by Gatdula.

“I hope we lived up to the expectations of the people of Cebu and satisfied the requirements of being in law enforcement.

There are times when we did not live up to the expectations because we also have limitations. Our apologies,” said de Lemos.

“But our experiences in Cebu are meaningful and good,” he later told reporters.

Villarta said he is still unfamiliar with the cases in Cebu.

But he said he will work on curbing the proliferation of loose firearms, which was also the goal of the Provincial Government in creating a task force.

Gatdula said the Central Visayas office lacks facilities and promised to source funds to improve the local office.