Leyte Samar Daily Express

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director Reynaldo Esmeralda who hails from Biliran Province and a graduate of the Divine Word University Tacloban College of Law was ambushed at Paco, Manila. He suffered slight physical injuries but his driver and brother, Nilo were seriously wounded.

Esmeralda linked the ambush attempt on him to the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of undocumented Japanese woman Noriyo Ohara. He said he could not think of any other reason which could have triggered the ambush. He said he had received death threats through text messages at least 2 weeks before the incident. He said NBI Deputy Director for Intelligence Ruel Lasala also told him that a group is out to get him.

Esmeralda, his brother and his driver were in a dark green Land Cruiser on their way home to Paco, Manila at around 7:45 pm when 2 suspects on a red motorcycle without license plate shot at Esmeralda’s vehicle. Based on the account of witnesses, the suspects had waited for the victims.

The Ohara kidnapping case led to the dismissal of former NBI Director Magtangol Gatdula. Esmeralda was one of the NBI resource persons interviewed by the Justice Department fact-finding panel regarding the Ohara case in December 2011. The incident may be related to the sacking of Gatdula and 10 of his agents after an investigation linked them to Ohara kidnap for ransom case.

Esmeralda said he was able to duck at the first volley of gunfire. He instinctively crouched in the backseat and reached for his submachine gun beside him but things happened so fast. His brother who was in the passenger front seat was also late in reacting. The bodyguards in the back-up car did not fire at the motorcycle riders for fear of hitting bystanders.

If a high official of the NBI, the country’s premier law enforcement agency could be ambushed with impunity and if our protectors cannot protect themselves, who will protect us, the ordinary citizens of this country?

By: Joey E. Clarin

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