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De Lemos named officer-in-charge as NBI releases report on suspicious prison deaths

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JUSTICE Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla has named National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director Medardo G. De Lemos as officer-in-charge of the agency.  

Mr. Remulla had issued the department order on July 1, assigning Mr. De Lemos until July 31 or until a replacement has been appointed or designated. 

He will replace former NBI OIC Eric B. Distor, who vacated the position after President R. Marcos, Jr. assumed office. 

“Atty. Medardo G. De Lemos, as the next-in-rank and most senior official, is hereby designated as the officer-in-charge of the National Bureau of Investigate,” according to the department order. 

Mr. De Lemos was previously designated as NBI OIC in 2013 by then Justice secretary Leila M. De Lima. His appointment came after former NBI Chief Nonnatus R. Rojas resigned over alleged leaks in the agency linked to the pork barrel scam. The newly appointed NBI OIC was commended in 2009 for apprehending the notorious Alvin Flores robbery group during his tenure as the NBI’s regional director of Central Visayas. 

Meanwhile, the NBI in a separate statement said Metro Manila police reports of the alleged suspicious deaths of eight high-profile inmates at the national penitentiary contradicted witness testimonies and records of the deaths.

Last Friday, the agency filed murder charges against 22 police officers for their alleged involvement in the suspicious deaths of the inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City in 2020. 

The eight inmates were transferred to a separate building within the prison’s compound for isolation after police officers claimed they exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus.

NBI noted that witnesses had not observed anything unusual about the prisoners in the isolation areas despite the police officers claiming they were on full alert in an “emergency situation” at the time. 

NBI added that the police officers could have used cremation, the standard operating procedure for COVID-related deaths, to conceal the murders. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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