Press Release
January 15, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) said today backed a proposal to grant a fixed term of office to the director of the National Bureau of Investigation to shield him from undue influence from Malacañang and powerful politicians and to enhance the bureaus efforts to solve criminal cases with the highest standards of professionalism and impartiality.

Pimentel said the proposal is very timely since Malacañang is now in the process of choosing the successor of the late NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco who died of cerebral stroke last month.

The proposal to clothe the NBI director with a security of tenure came from the officials and employees of the bureau and was articulated publicly by Ricardo Diaz, a division head of the NBI.

The grant of security of tenure to the NBI director is a key step in boosting the crime-fighting capability of this law enforcement agency. It is good for public interest if we have an NBI director who can stand up to pressures from higher-ups and do not allow the bureau to be used for purposes that do not conform to and subvert the NBIs mandate, Pimentel said.

The minority leader said it is of public knowledge that the NBI, under the present and past administrations, has been hamstrung from investigating cases involving powerful political personalities due to the meddling of Malacañang .

Pimentel said the perception that the NBI was being used for political purposes has cast aspersions on the integrity of the NBI and caused demoralization and unrest among its officials and employees.

He said the law creating the NBI will be amended by providing that the director of the bureau shall be entitled to a fixed term of five or seven years.

Pimentel pointed out that the heads of a number government bureaus, commissions and offices enjoy a fixed term of office by virtue of law like the chairman of the National Labor Relations Commission, administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission.

If the heads of several agencies are entitled to a fixed term of office under the law or charter that created them, there is no reason why the director of the NBI should not enjoy a similar right, he said.

He explained that the fixed term of office is intended to insulate the head of the NBI from pressures or influence from any individual or group that may undermine the performance of the investigative and law enforcement tasks of the bureau.

Due to the very crucial role of the NBI in solving heinous crimes and neutralizing criminal syndicates, Pimentel said the head of the bureau should be appointed based solely on merit, or the qualifications of the appointee, as prescribed by law.

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