DOJ clears ex-NBI chief Gatdula in ambush

The probe into the Feb 21, 2012 attempted murder of NBI deputy director Reynaldo Esmeralda finally goes to court

CLEARED. Former NBI chief Magtanggol Gatdula. File photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice on Wednesday, February 12, recommended the filing in court of murder charges against 11 individuals for the attempted murder of a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) official, but cleared a former bureau chief implicated in the case.

NBI deputy director for intelligence Reynaldo Esmeralda was ambushed by a riding-in-tandem convoy on February 21, 2012, where he suffered gunshot wounds along with his brother PO3 Nilo Esmeralda.

For lack of probable cause, a DOJ panel of prosecutors recommended the dismissal of frustrated murder complaints against former NBI director Magtanggol Gatdula and Gatdula’s driver Gino Eustaquio.

The February 21 ambush came after Esmeralda received death threats for his involvement in the investigation of the alleged kidnapping and extortion of Japanese national Noriyo Ohara.

But it was the alleged extortion of Ohara that prompted Gatdula’s dismissal from the bureau upon the orders of DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima.

Included in the DOJ case is Tyrone Ong, a known business associate of Cedric Lee, the businessman involved in the alleged mauling of comedian and actor Vhong Navarro. Ong also faces graft charges before the Sandiganbayan over the anomalous repair and maintenance of several light armored vehicles in 2007.

Aside from Ong, the following face two counts of attempted murder based on the DOJ complaint:

  • Perfecto H. Villanueva, a.k.a “Chief” and/or “Sarge Pekto”, formerly a police officer assigned at the Police Security Protection Group
  • Ronnie R. Ong, a.k.a. “Eboy”
  • Ramoso B. Ramos
  • Alfredo B. Compoc, a.k.a “Jackliner”
  • Teodoro Abendaño, a.k.a “Teddy”
  • Ricky Dacillo
  • Gerry Farillon
  • Jose P. Maglalang Jr, a.k.a “Jun Demonyo”
  • Jun L. Monticlaros
  • Alvin Monticlaros

Abendaño a.k.a “Teddy” was identified by two witnesses as the one who fired at Esmeralda and his brother. Dacillo, on the other hand, was identified as the one who drove the motorcycle that carried Abendaño.

Subsequent investigation led to a witness recounting how, 3 days before the ambush, he heard Villanueva talking to Ronnie Ong that the person they would be killing was important (“malaking tao”).

Villanueva, in his statement, said it was Tyrone Ong who asked him to find a gunman because he wanted to kill (“ipatumba”) Esmeralda. –

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