NBI to probe killing of Manila RTC judge

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2020   •   318

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday said it has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the case of a Manila court judge who was killed inside her office last Wednesday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the NBI will probe “all possible angles and motives” and “make recommendations to the supreme court on improving security measures in all halls of justice, court rooms, and premises.”

Judge Maria Teresa Abadilla of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 45 was shot inside her chamber by her clerk of court, Atty. Amador Rebato, who allegedly shot himself during the incident.

She was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead.

“Though Judge Abadilla’s death appears to have arisen from an internal issue with her clerk of court, I have, nonetheless, directed the NBI to conduct a parallel probe considering that the incident has implications on the personal security of our judges and justices,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, welcomed Guevarra’s move.

“Pwede naman talaga investigate yung NBI because a crime has been committed. But we are also investigating and reviewing court policies,” Court Administrator Midas Marquez said.

He added that Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has ordered the implementation of stricter measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

“The passing of Judge Abadilla is indeed a big loss to the judiciary because I personally know her to be an upright and highly competent magistrate,” Peralta said in a statement on Wednesday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento

DOJ may adjudicate on UP-DND Pact termination – Guevarra

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) may end up adjudicating on the ongoing dispute between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) relating to the abrogation of an agreement that has, for decades, barred the entry of government troops into UP campuses without prior coordination, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said this is pursuant to Presidential Decree (PD) 242, which prescribes the procedure for administrative settlement or adjudication of disputes, claims, and controversies between or among government offices, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned and -controlled corporations.

“The ongoing dispute between the UP and the DND, both national government agencies/instrumentalities, regarding the cancellation or abrogation of their 1989 agreement may end up with the DOJ for administrative adjudication pursuant to PD 242 (which remains good law),” Guevarra said.

Because of this, the Justice secretary said he will decline to state his stance on the matter.

“It will therefore be premature for the DOJ to make any comment on the dispute at this time,” he said.

The DND unilaterally ended the 31-year-old agreement with UP, citing information that the New People’s Army is recruiting students inside UP campuses.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier explained that the deal is ‘obsolete’ and that UP has become “a breeding ground” and “a safe haven for enemies of the state.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

NBI completes forensic examination on Christine Dacera’s body – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has completed its forensic examination on the remains of flight attendant Christine Dacera, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Monday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he will leave it to the NBI to release the results of its examination.

Guevarra added that the agency is currently coordinating with the Makati Medical Center for the tests it conducted on Dacera when she was taken there after she was found unconscious in the bathtub of a Makati hotel on January 1 after a night of partying with some friends.

The NBI earlier revealed it had extracted at least 100 milliliters of bodily fluid from Dacera’s body during its re-autopsy. It said it will help check for the presence of illegal drugs or alcohol.

Guevarra said the NBI Digital Forensic Team will next probe the data from the mobile phone of persons tagged in the death of Dacera.

Eleven individuals, who were with Dacera before she died, are facing a complaint for rape with homicide over the incident. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Christine Dacera case: 12 occupants from room 2207 appear before NBI

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Twelve individuals who stayed at room 2207 in a Makati City Hotel have appeared before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in connection to the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera.

NBI Spokesperson Atty Ferdinand Lavin said the 12, who came along with their legal counsels, underwent over 10 hours of question and answer investigation by the NBI experts.

“They opted that they will come  again altogether, sama-sama sila with counsels so everyone is to witness how the investigation proceeds as against all of them, nakikita nung iba paanong iniimbestigahan sila,” Lavin said.

It was learned that Dacera and some of her friends rented room 2209 of the City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati to celebrate the new year and that they mingled with the occupants of room 2207.

In CCTV footages, Dacera and some of her friends were seen going back and forth between the two rooms on the night of December 31.

Dacera was found unconscious last Jan. 1 in the bathtub of room 2209. She was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

Respondent John Pascual dela Serna, in his counter-affidavit submitted to the Makati Prosecutor’s Office, said they went to room 2207 after they were invited by another respondent, Ed Madrid, who knew the occupants there.

Lavin said investigators have also invited the individuals who stayed with Dacera at room 2209 as part of their ongoing probe.

“They have their lawyers so may counsel dito, and we thank them for their cooperation. Hindi pa tapos ito, and the statements would be validated against the pieces of evidence,” he said.

The Department of Justice last week ordered the NBI to help in the investigation into the death of Dacera. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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