National Bureau of Investigation (Philippines)


The National Bureau of Investigation (Filipino: Pambansang Kawanihan ng Pagsisiyasat, abbreviated as NBI) is an agency of the Philippine government under the Department of Justice, responsible for handling and solving major high-profile cases that are in the interest of the nation.

National Bureau of Investigation
Pambansang Kawanihan ng Pagsisiyasat
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).svg
Agency overview
FormedNovember 13, 1936
Preceding agency
  • Division of Investigation
JurisdictionGovernment of the Philippines
HeadquartersTaft Avenue, Ermita, Manila, Philippines
Efficient law enforcement in the pursuit of truth and justice.
Annual budget₱2.28 billion (2021)[1]
Agency executives
  • Eric B. Distor, CPA, Officer-in-Charge
  • Atty. Medardo G. de Lemos, Assistant Director
Parent agencyPhilippine Department of Justice

The NBI was modelled after the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when it was being established.[2]


José Yulo and Manuel L. Quezon, the forefathers of the National Bureau of Investigation, on a 2011 stamp of the Philippines
Signing of an order creating the NBI with President Manuel Roxas and first NBI Director J. Pardo De Tavera

The Division of Investigation, later renamed the National Bureau of Investigation, came into existence on June 19, 1947, the date Republic Act 157 was approved. Its history goes back to November 13, 1936, when a Division of Investigation (DI) under the Department of Justice was created with the enactment of Commonwealth Act No. 181 by the First National Assembly. Section 1, C.A. No. 181 provides:[3]

A Division of Investigation under the Department of Justice is hereby created. It shall be composed of such personnel as may be necessary, in the discretion of the Secretary of Justice, and its duties shall be to help in the detection and prosecution of crimes; to acquire, collect, classify and preserve criminal identification records; and to obtain information on all matters affecting the public interest.

The DI was the brainchild of Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon and the then–Secretary of Justice José Yulo.[4] A veteran American police officer, Capt. Thomas Duggan of the New York Police Department (NYPD), and the only Filipino member of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Flaviano Guerrero, were hired by the Philippine government to organize the Division of Investigation of the Department of Justice.[4]

The formation of the DI generated considerable public interest and more than 3,000 applied for the initial 48 positions of NBI Agents. Physical and medical examinations were conducted by doctors from the Philippine General Hospital and San Lazaro Hospital. Of the 3,000 applicants, only 150 were allowed to take the mental test and, of this number, less than 100 passed. After further screening, 48 were certified for employment and of these successful candidates, only 45 actually accepted appointments as Agents.

The DI was then formally organized in 1937 and was composed of forty-five (45) Agents and approximately 100 officials and employees. These included lawyers, doctors, chemists, fingerprint technicians, photographers, research assistants, clerks, stenographers, janitors and messengers. The DI office operated in Manila, where its Agents and technical personnel were dispatched to the provinces from time to time to investigate crimes of public interest or when the necessity arose.

The DI operation was suspended upon the surrender of the Commonwealth Government to the occupying Japanese forces during World War II. The Japanese, however, revived the DI and allowed it to function as a division under the Department of Justice until the establishment of the Japanese puppet Philippine Republic of President José P. Laurel. During the Laurel administration, the DI was merged with the Secret Service Division of the Metropolitan Constabulary (Manila Police Department or MPD) and the Intelligence Unit of the Japanese-run Philippine Constabulary.

Upon the liberation of the Philippines by combined Filipino and American forces in 1945, the DI was not immediately reorganized since most of its original members were seconded in the service of the United States Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC).[2] After the surrender of Japan in August 1945, the DI was reactivated and the original members were called back to the service. The reactivated DI started with no records or equipment, most of which had been systematically destroyed by DI personnel for security reasons in order to prevent classified documents and equipment from falling into the hands of the Japanese.

In 1947, as the Philippines struggled to recover from the ravages of war, criminality in all its forms increased dramatically, straining the meager resources of the newly reorganized police service in effectively combating sophisticated organized crime groups and the solution of complex crimes. Due to the increase of lawlessness in the land, DI personnel agitated for the conversion of the Division of Investigation into a bureau, believing that an enlarged, highly professional and better equipped bureau similar to that of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation was needed to effectively fight organized crime groups and solve crimes of a complex nature.

In response, Congress filed House Bill No. 1162, from which Republic Act No. 157 originated. R.A. 157 was approved by Congress and enacted into law on June 19, 1947, which renamed DI to the Bureau of Investigation (BI).[4] In October 4, 1947, R.A. 157 was amended by Executive Order No. 94 to change the name from BI to the National Bureau of Investigation.[2]


The NBI is mandated to investigate/take on the following cases:[5]

  1. Extrajudicial/extra-legal killings by state security forces against media practitioners/activists.
  2. Murders of justices and judges
  3. Violations of the Cybercrime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 10175)
  4. Cases from the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council
  5. Anti-Dummy Law cases
  6. Human trafficking cases in all Philippine airports
  7. Cases involving threats to security or assaults against the persons of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  8. Transnational crimes based on international agreements
  9. Identification of victims of natural disasters
  10. Violations of:
  • the E-Commerce Act of 2000 (Republic Ac No. 8792);
  • the Access Devices Regulations Act of 1998 (Republic Act No. 8484);
  • the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8293);
  • the Securities Regulation Code (Republic Act No. 8799);
  • the Decree Increasing the Penalty for Certain Forms of Estafa (Presidential Decree No. 1689)


Organizational structureEdit

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is a line agency under the Department of Justice and serves as the premier investigative agency of government. The agency director is a Presidential appointee and serves under the trust and confidence of the President and the Secretary of Justice (SOJ).

The branches consist of the following:

Rank structureEdit

The rank structure was reformed by Republic Act No. 10867, the 2016 Act "Reorganizing and Modernizing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Providing Funds Therefore"[5]

The following was the old rank system used by the NBI:[5]

  • Director VI
  • Director V (Assistant Director)
  • Director III (Deputy Director)
  • Director II (Regional Director)
  • Director I (Assistant Regional Director)
  • Investigation Agent VI (Head Agent)
  • Investigation Agent V (Supervising Agent)
  • Investigation Agent IV (Senior Agent)
  • Investigation Agent III
  • Investigation Agent II
  • Investigation Agent I
  • Special Investigator V
  • Special Investigator IV
  • Special Investigator III

The following ranks were established after RA 10867 was passed in 2016:[5]

  • Director
  • Deputy Director
  • Assistant Director
  • Regional Director
  • Assistant Regional Director
  • Head Agent
  • Supervising Agent
  • Senior Agent
  • Investigation Agent III

NBI directorsEdit

NBI main office at Taft Avenue, Manila.
NBI compound in Ermita

The heads of the NBI since the founding on November 13, 1936, were:

Years Covered Director Notes
1936–1939 Capt. Thomas Duggan Former Police Officer, NYPD, Head of the Division of Investigation during its formative years
1939–1941 Joaquin Pardo de Tavera
1941–1945 N/A Japanese Occupation
1946–1950 Joaquin Pardo de Tavera First Director of the newly renamed and reorganized National Bureau of Investigation
1951–1954 Gen. Alberto Ramos
1954 Maj. Jose Crisol
Col. Leoncio Tan
1954–1966 Col. Jose Lukban
1966 Serafin Fausto Officer in Charge
1967–1986 Jolly R. Bugarin
1986–1989 Jesus Antonio M. Carpio
1989–1992 Gen. Alfredo S. Lim
1992–1995 Epimaco Velasco
1995 Antonio D. Aragon
1995–1996 Mariano M. Mison
1996–1999 Santiago Y. Toledo
1999–2000 Federico M. Opinion
2000–2001 Carlos S. Caabay Officer in Charge
2001–2005 Gen. Reynaldo G. Wycoco
2005–2010 Nestor Manrique Mantaring
2010–2012 Magtanggol B. Gatdula
2012–2013 Nonnatus Caesar R. Rojas
2013–2014 Medardo G. De Lemos Officer in Charge
2014–2016 Virgilio L. Mendez
2016-2020 Dante A. Gierran
2020 – present Eric B. Distor Officer in Charge


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 2, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "C.A. No. 181: An Act Creating a Division of Investigation Under the Department of Justice, Defining its Powers and Duties, and Appropriating the Necessary Funds Therefor". November 13, 1936.
  4. ^ a b c "NBI sees broader law enforcement role".
  5. ^ a b c d "R.A. No. 10867: National Bureau of Investigation Reorganization and Modernization Act". June 23, 2016. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018.

External linksEdit

  • Official website