NBI probe into agents’ extortion activities suffers setback as witnesses leave PH
MANILA, Philippines—An ongoing investigation into allegations of extortion against some members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has suffered a setback with the complainants, Saudi nationals, having left the country without filing affidavits, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said Thursday.
“So, they [Department of Justice fact finding panel] are trying to find ways and means to have these complainants execute a statement otherwise, should logistics permit it, send a team to Saudi Arabia to get their statement,” De Lima told reporters in a chance interview during the 78th anniversary of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Another stumbling block encountered by the team headed by Justice Assistant Secretary Zabedin Azis is that the women who are supposed part of the syndicate could not be identified or traced, said De Lima.
She ordered the investigation following a letter-complaint from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi embassy claims that at least four Saudi nationals, namely: Majdi Abdulhamed Yaghmoor, Hassand Alharbi, Farhan Alsolobi, and Ahmad Al Ghaneem, were arrested by NBI agents and later freed after paying them sums of money ranging from P20,000 up to P300,000.
The women, one of who was identified as “Arlene” or “Darlene”, was supposedly part of the group that extorted money from the Saudi nationals. The Saudi government managed to acquire a photo of the woman it identified.
“Supposedly, there are other women involved [aside from “Arlene”/”Darlene”] but it seems that the names are fictitious. So, they are trying to determine if these ladies supposedly part of the syndicate truly exist,” De Lima said.
She added that while investigators have yet to identify the alleged NBI agents involved, they have named the bureau’s NCR Division as being the unit allegedly involved in the extortion activities.