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Palace names Rojas permanent NBI chief

Nonnatus Caesar Rojas

After serving for six months as officer in charge of the National Bureau of Investigation, Nonnatus Caesar Rojas finally received his appointment from Malacañang.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima named Rojas to head the agency in an acting capacity on January 30 following the removal of erstwhile Director Magtanggol Gatdula in connection with cases of extortion and the abduction of a Japanese woman.

A former state regional prosecutor, Rojas, 54, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Tuesday that his appointment was a “moving forward thing.”

“Being here for six months, I can say that I am already familiar with the bureau’s operations,” he said. As officer in charge, he said he could only decide solely on matters and concerns that needed immediate attention.

Rojas was named to temporarily head the NBI under Order No. 055 of the Department of Justice (DOJ), which specifically stated that his designation excluded “the power to act on matters of policy determination, approval of long-term contracts and transactions, appointment and firing of personnel, and other matters, which by their nature, are essentially within the authority of the secretary of justice.”

Rojas’ predecessor, Gatdula, was removed last year from his post after he, along with several other NBI personnel, was charged in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a Japanese woman and extortion.

Revamp

Rojas said he would definitely implement changes in the bureau, particularly a revamp of division and unit heads, as part of efforts to improve NBI services. “There will be a reassignment of some people, which is overdue,” he pointed out.

He said he would ensure that all NBI personnel “are fully appraised and trained in terms of morals and values.”

Guided by President Bengino Aquino’s State of the Nation Address on Monday and De Lima’s “marching orders,” Rojas said the NBI “will specifically focus on the campaign against illegal drugs, illegal logging and human trafficking, and strengthen our efforts in searching for high-profile fugitives.”

Mr. Aquino signed Rojas’ appointment paper on July 20.

Rojas, who hails from the City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur province, has been with the DOJ since March 1991, when he joined the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in his home province. He became a state prosecutor in August 1999 and later became the regional prosecutor based in San Fernando City, La Union province, in September 2002.

San Beda alumnus

A son of former NBI Deputy Director Mariano Rojas, he obtained his economics and law degrees from San Beda College in 1979 and 1983, respectively.

His career as a government lawyer started in 1988, when he served as a senior hearing officer and later Attorney 5 at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Manila.

Before his law practice in 1984, Rojas served as administrative officer of the Department of Budget and Management and worked his way to become the administrative division chief in 1983. From 1984 to 1988, he was an associate lawyer at Del Rosario & Del Rosario Law Office and Bienvenido A. Tan Law Office.

He also became a partner at Rojas and Rojas Law Office.

Rojas is married to Lucy Nenette Rojas, and they have three children. With a report from Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research


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