Sharpshooter turned judge takes over NBI

Helen Flores, Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
Sharpshooter turned judge takes over NBI
Jaime Santiago, who gained renown in the 1990s as a sharpshooter of the Manila Police District SWAT team before serving as an RTC judge, is sworn in (lower photo) as new director of the National Bureau of Investigation by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin at Malacañang yesterday. Looking on are Santiago’s wife, RTC Judge Wilhelmina Go-Santiago and their children.

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos has appointed Jaime Santiago, a former judge and police sharpshooter, as the new director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Santiago, who replaced Medardo de Lemos, took his oath before Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin yesterday.

Santiago said among his top priorities in the bureau is to fight cybercrime.

“We will focus on cybercrimes. There are so many scams. I want to focus on those as much as possible,” Santiago said in a chance interview after he made a courtesy call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) later yesterday.

Santiago added that his priorities include a “speedy” issuance of NBI clearances.

During his visit, Santiago met with DOJ officials led by Undersecretary Raul Vasquez.

Santiago said that his marching orders from the department were to “improve the services of the NBI and restore the public trust in the agency.”

Santiago served as acting executive or presiding judge of regional trial courts in the cities of Manila and Tagaytay. He is a former Metropolitan Trial Court judge of Manila.

He served as assistant city prosecutor in Manila from October 2003 to December 2006. 

Santiago finished BS Criminology at the Philippine College of Criminology and obtained his law degree from Manuel L. Quezon University.

He served mostly as an intelligence officer and member of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of the Western Police District from 1979 to 2000, and underwent special training in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“As a dutiful police officer at the WPD, he went against sinister individuals who threatened the peace and order in Manila,” the Presidential Communications Office said in a statement.

“(Santiago is) a sharpshooter from the Special Weapons and Tactics team during his heyday in Manila’s Finest,” it added.

He rose to fame when his life was featured in a 1996 Filipino biographical action film.

Santiago also served as criminal law professor at the Emilio Aguinaldo College, Philippine College of Criminology and Emilio Aguinaldo College. 

He was a former deputy executive vice president of the Philippine Judges Association and former president of the Metropolitan and City Judges Association of the Philippines.

He was named one of the 10 Outstanding Policemen of the Philippines by the Philippine Jaycees in 2009 and Outstanding Criminologist by the Professional Regulation Commission in 2012.  

MOA with Coast Guard

Meanwhile, the NBI inked a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Coast Guard on Thursday to enhance their cooperation and coordination efforts in maritime areas.

The signing ceremony, held at the NBI Conference Room in V-Tech Tower, was attended by key representatives from both organizations.

Outgoing director De Lemos and deputy directors and assistant directors represented the NBI. 

Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan was accompanied by high-ranking PCG officials, who represented the Coast Guard.

According to the NBI, the agreement signifies the agencies’ commitment to strengthen efforts in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting maritime-related crimes, as well as enhancing the efficiency of both agencies in suppressing crimes within the Philippines’ jurisdiction, both on land and at sea.

Key initiatives under the MOA include extending collaborative partnerships with local sectors, organizations, and other government agencies to improve maritime and coastal monitoring. 

The agreement also ensures the effective and efficient implementation of Republic Act 9993, known as the Coast Guard Law of 2009, Executive Order 94 and Republic Act 10867 for the modernization of the NBI. — Mark Ernest Villeza, Ghio Ong

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