Gatdula assumes post; de Lima says no let up in tracking down Lacson‏

July 12, 2010 10:36 pm 

MANILA, July 12 –Justice Secretary Leila de Lima defended on Monday newly-installed National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director lawyer Magtanggol Gatdula in handling Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson case, adding that that there would be no let-up in bureau’s efforts to track down the senator.

In a press briefing held at the NBI main office in Manila after the turn-over ceremony on Monday, de Lima said that Gatdula would be gauged in his performance as bureau director and not because of his past association with the senator.

Gatdula formally assumed on Monday the post of NBI director, replacing lawyer Nestor M. Mantaring, who rose from the ranks.

“I already said it (on Gatdula in dealing Lacson’s case), the gauge will be his performance. It would be unfair if we already make some judgment on the basis of previous associations. Also I understand and ask around that Director Gatdula was with the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF). He was not directly under Senator Lacson. That one I was able to confirm from independent sources,” she told reporters at the NBI main office.

She further said she was sure that with the credentials and track record of the new director, the public should be without apprehension on how he was going to handle the Lacson case.

“The important thing is that there is standing warrant of arrest against Sen. Lacson. There should be no let up in the tracking down because of that warrant of arrest,” she said.

De Lima said they were still verifying the information that the senator has returned into the country.

“Of course we will verify the information that he was already in the country. Although, there has never been confirmation with regards to that information. So it’s a challenge to our new director,” she said.

De Lima said there is no development yet on the report of the surrender feelers of Lacson.

“It suddenly stopped. Let’s wait,” she said.

Lacson, who is facing two counts of murder in connection with the 2000 Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito killings, earlier claimed that he was politically prosecuted by the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. (PNA) RMA/JES/utb

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