Noriyo Ohara

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Noriyo Ohaya is a 32-year old Japanese who was allegedly kidnapped by officials of the National Bureau of Investigation. This accusation prompted the formation of a three-man fact-finding committee lead by Department of Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, which led to the filing of criminal charges of several NBI officials and the termination of NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula.

Contents

Background

Ohaya is an undocumented Japanese national who fled to the Philippines in 2009 to escape the Yakuza. Her father had already been killed earlier and she was next on their list.

Upon arriving in the Philippines, she did not pass through the immigration counter and immediately whisked away to a house in Las Pinas under the care of the Marzan family. She was adopted and assumed the identify Marife Marzan.

Kidnapping allegations

The immigration official enjoyed a monthly stipend provided by the Marzan family. However, when he retired, his monthly stipend also stopped. Angered by this move, he reported Ohaya to some agents at the NBI.

On Oct. 28, 2011, NBI agents in four vans and two cars arrested Ohara in Bugallon, Pangasinan province. NBI agents told the Marzan family they were taking custody of Ohara, a.k.a. Marife Marzan, for being an undocumented alien.

Ohara was taken to the NBI headquarters and detained her at the Security Management Division. They initially asked for a P100 million in exchanged for her release. This ransom was eventually lowered to P15 million. The family however, was only able to reaise P6 million.

The first tranche, P1 million, was allegedly received by Jose Odellon Cabillan, SMD’s executive officer, and a certain Chona. The amount was allegedly handed over in the presence of Mario Garcia, the SMD chief, and a certain Labsky.

On Nov. 2, 2011, Cabillan allegedly received from the Marzans P4 million inside the SMD chief’s office. On Nov. 9, 2011, the Marzans again handed P1 million to Cabillan and Chona.

On November 21, 2011, Ohara was physically turned over to the Japanese embassy despite the order of President Benigno Aquino III to turn her over to the Bureau of Immigration. On December 2011, she was transferred to the custody of the BI.

Consequences

Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima formed a three-member fact-finding team headed by Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan to look into Ohara’s reported abduction. This led to the filing of kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention charges against Gatdula and other NBI officials, which included: NBI security and management division (SMD) head Special Investigator Mario Garcia, his executive officer Special Investigator Jose Odellon Cabillan, their assets Chona Ellen Esplana and Virgelito Gutierrez alias Labsky, Gatdula’s special assistant Raul Dimaano, and 12 other security volunteers.

DOJ panel also recommended filing administrative charge of inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties against NBI Deputy Director Rickson Chiong, the immediate superior of Garcia for failing to act decisively and treating the very serious allegations without any sense of urgency and importance.

Gatdula was subsequently fired from his post as NBI Director after President Aquino cited lack of faith in him for insubordination.

References

Citation

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