By Jeffrey Damicog
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran has assured former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III that the latter can voice his defense before the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) over his alleged involvement in the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine mess.
Gierran responded to the allegations of Aquino who claimed that the NBI did not give the former President due process during its investigation of the controversy and proceeded with the filing of a complaint before the OMB.
“It’s not the end of the line for them,” Gierran assured in a statement.
“There is still an independent and honorable Ombudsman who will evaluate our findings whether there exists probable cause for the next legal process,” he pointed out.
Last Monday, the NBI filed a criminal complaint and asked the OMB to prosecute Aquino and his co-respondents for committing technical malversation under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
However, Aquino accused the NBI of giving him due process during the conduct of its investigation.
“Hindi ko naintindihan kung pano nagkaroon ng due process doon (I don’t understand how was there due process in its investigation),” Aquino he said.
During the course of the NBI probe, Aquino recounted that he only received a subpoena once which summoned him to the NBI on May 25.
“This was the only time we were required to show up. My lawyers were the ones who actually represented me. I was told that my presence was not necessary,” he recalled
“Tapos ang nangyari, wala nang further communcations from them. Kaya nagulat ako nung lumabas sa media (After that there was no more communication from them. That’s why I was surprised when I learned from the media that the NBI has filed a complaint),” he pointed out.
On the other hand, Gierran refuted the claims made by Aquino against the NBI.
“The important thing is, we consistently applied the standard elicitation in the most objective and fair fact-finding investigation, securing those pieces of voluminous evidence from different equally independent but relevant sources, invited those persons of interest to participate in our investigation, and they came,” he said.