Press Release
December 17, 2012

NBI modernization bill approved on third reading

The Senate today approved on third reading a bill calling for the reorganization and modernization of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), giving the agency more power to help the government in its fight to reduce the incidence of criminal activities in the country.

The approval of Senate Bill No. 2970 comes on the heels of the appointment of Nonnatus Caesar Rojas, who takes over as head of the NBI following the removal of former Director Magtanggol Gatdula who was implicated in several extortion cases and the kidnapping of a Japanese national.

Authored by Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Senate Bill No. 2970 seeks to reorganize the country's investigative body by strengthening its existing powers and functions and modernizing its investigative program through the acquisition of state-of-the-art intelligence equipment, making it attuned to the needs of the time.

It also seeks to establish and maintain a Cyber Investigation and Assessment Center, which shall serve as the nerve center for data gathered on computer related crimes such as data piracy, cyber crime, cyber-bullying, threats and other related crimes or activities.

"The NBI has been criticized time and again for sloppy investigative work. This time, with the acquisition of more modern investigative equipment and facilities, our crime investigators will no longer have any reason why they cannot bring justice to the victims," Escudero said.

Under the measure, the NBI is given the power to undertake the investigation of any crime, including threats to national security, unless otherwise directed by the President or the Secretary of Justice.

"Giving the country's premier investigative body the authority to lead in the investigation of a crime necessitates the need not only to enhance its current powers and functions. It also means the need for additional training for the men and women tasked to gather any and all evidence that may lead to the apprehension of perpetrators," Escudero explained.

The measure likewise seeks to provide adequate compensation, benefits and privileges such as trainings, free health insurance, accident insurance and scholarship grants to NBI agents and employees. All of these, including better retirement benefits, are geared towards promoting and maintaining a modern, competent and highly trained investigative body, Escudero said.

"Our crime investigators risk their lives every time they are in the presence of a crime scene. Yet, they continue to do their work even with substandard equipment, low pay, and lopsided benefits. We cannot blame them for having low morale, but we can do something about it," Escudero said.

"Immediate enactment of this measure into law will not only boost the morale of our NBI agents and employees, it will provide them with adequate compensation such as benefits and privileges, trainings, and free health insurance, including accident insurance and scholarship grants," Escudero added.

Medical and funeral benefits will also be available to NBI personnel, together with a special trust fund which will be used to provide legal assistance to agents and employees who are criminally charged with violation of their official functions. (YVONNE ALMIRANEZ, PRIB)

News Latest News Feed