09 March 2012

A Filipina married to a Japanese national has come forward to expose another case of abuse of authority allegedly committed by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

A certain ALMA VALENCIA YAMAGUCHI sought personal audience with Justice Secretary LEILA M.DE LIMA, bringing with her a sworn affidavit attesting to very serious allegations of wrongdoing by agents of the NBI-RAID (Reaction Arrest and Interdiction Division) allegedly committed last March 2011.

In her affidavit, she named several NBI-RAID agents and civilian assets whom she is charging with robbery, illegal detention, kidnapping, grave
coercion, trespassing and extortion.

Acting on her letter-complaint, Secretary De Lima issued a Memorandum to Prosecutor General CLARO A. ARELLANO, directing the conduct of
preliminary investigation into the case. At the same time, the Secretary of Justice directed Officer-in-Charge NONNATUS CAESAR R. ROJAS of the NBI to cause the conduct of an administrative investigation.

Ms. Yamaguchi detailed in her affidavit how, on or about 11:45 in the evening of 16 March 2011, a group of around fifteen (15) armed men barged into her office in Bacoor, Cavite, where they found Dickson Akinbode, a Nigerian national and, thereafter, proceeded to search and ransack her office.

She alleged that the agents basically looted her office, taking away several pieces of expensive jewelry, desktop and laptop computers, and various other personal belongings, including her ATM card, which the agents allegedly used to withdraw P32,000.00 from her bank account, and the ATM cards, watches, computers and cellphones and other personal belongings of Akinbode.

The RAID team arrested them and brought them to Room 513, the RAID office in NBI, Manila, where the agents proceeded to subject Akinbode to torture in her presence, such as by hitting him with a baseball bat.

The agents asked for some more names and, just so the NBI agents would stop torturing Akinbode, she told them about a Nigerian Jimmy, whom the agents arrested the following day in a subdivision in Bacoor, Cavite, together with Lazarus Bathshegi and Adefemi Adeleke, both also Nigerians who happened to be in Jimmy's place.

On 8 March 2011, at about 3:00 in the morning, she saw that her cellphone was left on a table by her captors, enabling her to send text messages to her son, to a Nigerian Association officer and several others, telling them: "PLEASE DO SOMETHING, WE WERE KIDNAPPED BY NBI ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND BEING KEPT IN ROOM 513 since. PLEASE LET A LAWYER KNOW AND COME SEE ME ASAP". When the NBI agents learned she had been able to contact some people, the NBI RAID team allegedly panicked, whereupon they hastily prepared a complaint using three fake complainants, on the basis which the Nigerians were subjected to inquest in the DOJ.

She was asked to produce P500,000.00 (reduced to P300,000.00), but since all she had at the time was ATM card, it was taken from her and used to withdraw P32,000.00. Mrs. Yamaguchi also claims that, after she was released from the NBI, some agents whom she named in her affidavit kept calling her asking for money. A certain Atty. Allan Cantado allegedly demanded P150,000.00 in exchange for the dismissal of the case filed in the DOJ against the Nigerians. The money was raised and handed to Atty. Cantado, who asked for another P150,000.00, which they were no longer able to raise.

Asked why she is just coming out now with her revelations and accusations, nearly a year after the incident, Yamaguchi said she was emboldened to file the complaint against those who took advantage of them after she saw that concrete results came out of the DOJ's investigation into the Ohara kidnapping incident.

According to Secretary De Lima, "It's extremely disturbing to hear of these serious allegations against our people in the NBI. As the primary national law enforcement and investigative agency under the DOJ, our agents and personnel are supposed to be the first to merit and secure the trust of our people. If they are looked upon with fear and suspicion, the ultimate victims are the institution itself and the Filipino people. Therefore, the order to thoroughly investigate this comes with the promise, addressed to all those abusing their positions in the NBI for nefarious purposes, that they will, sooner or later, get their due. So they better stop now or get out of government service altogether."

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