MANILA, Philippines – For Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, a Manila court’s protection order for sacked National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) chief Magtanggol Gatdula is a case of paranoia.
Acting on Gatdula’s petition, the court issued a writ of amparo on Tuesday, March 20, to protect Gatdula and his family from personalities like De Lima, NBI officer in charge Nonnatus Rojas, and NBI director Reynaldo Esmeralda.
Gatdula earlier filed a 14-page petition for the Manila Regional Trial Court to order De Lima, Rojas, and Esmeralda to “cease and desist from further threatening (his) life, liberty, and security,” and to restrain them from “filing bogus charges of frustrated murder” against him for Esmeralda’s ambush.
Esmeralda survived an ambush by a riding-in-tandem convoy last February 21.
Gatdula said he got a tip that a fake witness would tag him as the incident’s mastermind, according to The Philippine Daily Inquirer. He also said he could be killed in a “rub-out.”
“This is an inevitable conclusion,” the Gatdula petition explained, “because… De Lima and Esmeralda have access to men and means to carry out an extralegal killing while (the) petitioner stands all alone with no one to help him except this court.”
De Lima, however, questioned the connection between the supposed threats against Gatdula’s life and the investigation into Esmeralda’s ambush.
“How can an investigation into an incident, supposedly an ambush incident of a deputy director, be an indication or proof that the life now or security of the former director is under threat?” De Lima said in an interview with reporters.
“Masyado naman atang naging paranoid pareho ‘yung petitioner and even the court, with due respect,” she added. (The petitioner and even the court, with due respect, became too paranoid.)
“I feel very strongly that there is, here, a clear case of misuse or abuse of an extraordinary writ called writ of amparo. The writ of amparo is baseless,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Last January 19, De Lima removed Gatdula from the NBI after his alleged involvement in an alleged kidnapping and extortion attempt involving a Japanese woman in December 2011.
His removal, among other things, is said to have triggered the Iglesia ni Cristo grand evangelical mission last February – widely seen to be a show of force against a supposedly ungrateful President Benigno Aquino III. Gatdula is a member of the INC.
The INC, which engages in bloc voting, supported Aquino in the 2010 polls. – Rappler.com