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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, September 7, 2012
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NBI Bacolod beefed up
amid Arles case threats

The National Bureau of Investigation in Bacolod City has been beefed up following threats made against its chief and agents in connection with their investigation into the murder of Kabankalan Judge Henry Arles.

NBI Bacolod chief Ferdinand Lavin said yesterday that the threats were that he would either be removed from his post, harmed, or ambushed.

The possibility of the NBI Bacolod office being bombed or burned was also raised, he said, but refused to name who had made the threats.

The NBI head office sent 12 agents from its various offices around the country, known as the “A Team”, to temporarily beef up the Bacolod office, Lavin said.

“We can protect ourselves, that is part of our job. We are after the protection of the public transacting business with the NBI (in Bacolod). We do not want them to be part of any risks,” he said.

He said that while they have classified the threats received as not serious, they did not want to discount the possibility that they could happen.

“We are addressing the threats,” he said.

The 12 additional agents have been at the Bacolod NBI office for close to two months and could be pulled out any time soon, he added.

Lavin said that while the Bacolod NBI agents were focused on the investigation into the Arles case, the “A Team” was focusing on the threats.

“We did not want the threats to throw us off the investigation or slow us down,” he said.

On July 28the NBI filed a complaint before the Department of Justice against Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez, a government employee, and five members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army for the murder of Arles.

The accused, who have denied the charges, have recently been sent subpoenas by the DOJ to respond to the complaint against them.

Arles was shot dead in Barangay Manalad, Ilog, on April 24 while he was driving home.

Threats are part of the total package when investigating a sensational case, they are made against the witnesses, informants, the family of the victim and the investigators, Lavin said.

He denied insinuations that their investigation into the Arles murder was politically motivated. It just so happened that their investigation led them to a politician, he added.

It was NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operations Services Virgilio Mendez who directed them to conduct a parallel investigation into the Arles murder, he disclosed.

Meanwhile, information provided by a new witness in the murder of the judge to the Arles family is being evaluated, he said.

Frank Britanico, brother-in-law of Arles, yesterday said subpoenas have been sent out by DOJ Assistant State Prosecutor Vimar Barcellano to those named in the complain for the murder of the judge.

Arles’ sons, Albert and Philip, have also received subpoenas to subscribe their complaint under oath, in connection with the preliminary investigation of the case at the DOJ, he added.*CPG

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