NBI confirms body found in Tarlac to be ex-CA justice

By Benjamin Pulta

December 22, 2020, 7:52 am

MANILA – The Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed Monday that it was former Court of Appeals associate justice Normandie Pizarro's remains that was found in Capas, Tarlac last Oct. 30.

After the NBI confirmed that the body was Pizarro's, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the bureau is focusing on four persons of interest in the case.

"One of them is willing to divulge what he knows," Guevarra said.

The examination of the remains was completed this week. "The NBI forensic chemistry division report showed a 99.9999 percent DNA match," Guevarra said.

Pizarro's black Honda Accord sedan was recovered in San Simon, Pampanga. He was last seen alive at a casino in Clark on Oct. 23.

On March 13, 2018, the Supreme Court en banc, acting on an anonymous-letter complaint, fined Pizarro PHP100,000 after the tribunal found him "guilty of conduct unbecoming of a member of the judiciary".

The administrative matter arose from an anonymous letter-complaint charging Pizarro of habitually gambling in casinos, "selling" decisions, and immorally engaging in an illicit relationship.

The subject letter-complaint was initially filed with the Office of the Ombudsman on Sept. 20, 2017. The matter was referred by the Ombudsman to the High Court on Oct. 24, 2017.

The SC decision, written by then SC justice Samuel Martires, arose from an anonymous letter-complaint accusing Pizarro of being a "gambling addict" who would allegedly lose millions of pesos in the casinos daily and insinuated that he resorted to "selling" his cases to support his gambling addiction.

Attached to the anonymous letter-complaint are four sheets of photographs showing Pizarro sitting at the casino tables allegedly at the Midori Hotel and Casino in Clark, Pampanga.

In his comment, Pizarro admitted that while he was indeed the person appearing in the photographs, he was accompanying a balikbayan friend and played without big stakes.

Pizarro added that "the photographs may have been taken by people with ulterior motives considering his plan for early retirement."

Pizarro said he returned to gaming again which he described as "an indiscretion committed by a dying man because, before this, he had learned that he had terminal cancer.

He also denied having a mistress saying such accusations "as cowardly acts of his detractors, who even furnished copies of the anonymous complaint to the presiding justice of the appellate court and the leader of a major religious group, with the intent of destroying his character".

Then associate justice and now-retired chief justice Lucas Bersamin took no part in the decision along with former chief justice Lourdes Sereno, who was on leave, while Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen dissented from the majority ruling of a fine and voted to have Pizarro dismissed from service. (PNA)